back to article MPs battle to save great British pub

A cross-party alliance of over 200 MPs has joined a British Beer and Pub Association campaign to save the traditional British boozer from oblivion. Pubs are being increasingly priced out of the market by tax hikes and cheap supermarket alcohol. The rescue charge is led by the Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester, Bob Russell, …

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  1. Dave

    Law Enforcement

    All it needs is for drunken behaviour to be properly penalised and let people drink what they want, when they want. Those who drink to excess and misbehave get fined/jailed, those who drink responsibly (or are lucky enough to be totally innocuous when blotto) do not. It's called personal responsibility, something which appears to be totally alien to our NuLab government.

    As for taxes, we're going to get screwed on all the other taxes due to Brown's excellent measures, so none of us are going to have anything left to spend on alcohol whether it's going to be taxed more or not.

  2. john loader

    Get better landlords/owners

    I've moved from the South to the North. Here every village - even places without a village - seems to have a thriving pub unlike where I came from. They serve good beer (5 on pump here) good inexpensive food, aren't owned by a faceless company determined to wring the tenant dry and have landladies and landlords who create an atmosphere that attracts all ages to make the pub the heart of the village. I can drop in at any time and be assured an interesting chat with people of all (legal ages). Dogs are welcome as well. They orhganise socials and even the vicar is having a service at Eatser there. Come to the Fox and Hounds in West Witton and see how a pub should be

  3. Simon
    Coat

    Backfired did it?

    But I thought the goverment wanted to close down all the pubs! Good old Nanny state always thinking about our health!

    What with the smoking ban and the increase in beer prices, I'm constantly amazed at how many small pubs have closed by me and the ones that remain open are mostly deserted. I *Used* to go to pubs, but the goverment has forced me to stay home and drink supermarket booze now.

    The pubs that have managed to stay open are the family friendly resturant pubs, I would go there for food maybe once every couple of months, but I wouldn't want to drink in them, what with all the kids running around.

    So is this MP alliance thing going to bring back the idea of proper drinking pubs? You know the ones where you can drink and SMOKE in peace, where only grown-ups go.

    Maybe the goverment will realise Social Engineering doesn't work, we are grown ups and don't need to be treated like children, all this has done is create a big mess.

    My coat, used to hang on the coat rack in my local, you know, the one with a "For sale" sign hanging on it now...

  4. Paul

    And it has nothing to do with

    the smoking ban. No. Never. Stoping people smoking in pubs had no bad effects at all. The people who said that is would were all wrong and this is all to do with supermarkets selling cheap beer.

  5. Neil Greatorex
    Thumb Up

    Any excuse....

    To link to the Boddingtons ads featureing the delectable Melanie Sykes :-)

    Sarah Parish was also featured:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVMEOG7MtYs

    Enjoy..

    PS Is there a petition?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Smoking

    I'd start going back to pubs if I didn't have to spend most of the night standing outside the fecking places freezing my nads off.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Easy

    20p increase / unit in off sales

    20p decrease / unit in on sales....

    How hard can it be....oh I forgot..

    £5bn database to keep a track of it all....

  8. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Smoking

    There's a real easy solution to that one. But I suppose all that smoking has killed the necessary brain cells that might have enabled you to figure it out.

    My coat is the coat that says on it 'Let's Not Go There'.

  9. Phil Cooke
    Black Helicopters

    Website

    www.axethebeertax.com - also failbook groups etc out there if ya interested :)

  10. Squits
    Dead Vulture

    If the stupid, fat, ignorant gets -

    hadn't banned smoking in pubs there wouldn't be a problem.

    What's the point of going to a pub now, it costs you two arms and a leg and you can't smoke indoors.

    I love pubs, but not enough to just go there to save them, I'd rather go to the offy, atleast I don't have to stand out in the pissing rain when I want a smoke.

    The icon should say PUB, not REG

  11. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
    Stop

    Can't see the point of going to the pub anymore...

    Is this all down to taxation or should some blame be placed at the doorways of the greed of breweries and landlords?

    In my local, 4 pints of Guinness is £13.40 (yes, that's three pounds and thirty five pence a pint) whilst I can buy a 4 pack in the local supermarket for £4.00. No contest really. The pub doesn't serve food and the landlords are off on their second skiing trip of the year. Go figure...

    In my other local pub, a thimblefull of Jack daniels is £2.20, a "dash" of coke to go in it is £0.60, and it's £0.90 for a bag of crisps. Tough to see how they make a profit eh?

    Combined with the fact I can't smoke without freezing my arse off makes the staying at home option a no brainer and I have no sympathy for those closing.

  12. andy gibson

    only the shit pubs dying?

    From my experience, the pubs I've seen close are the ones which sell poor quality food and the "huge" selection of piss-poor bland drinks - Guinness, John Smiths and Carling.

    Good riddance to them and long may the ones that serve good pub grub and a wide choice of real ales continue, as they do around my neck of the woods. And it's standing room only at weekends, so you can't blame the smoking ban on that one.

  13. Michael B.

    Now they care about my business

    Pre-smoking ban Pubs were a smoky place where my Wife, who has asthma, could not stay for more than a short amount of time. As a result we discovered that we were perfectly happy at home well away from the Pubs. The Pubs couldn't care less about providing a place that we'd be happy to visit because business was good.

    Now times have changed and they are begging for custom. As far as we are concerned if they had cared enough about non-smokers earlier I'm sure we would still be going to pubs, but we found a cleaner and fresher place to enjoy a drink, our living room. As it is they are as much a part of our life as Woolies is.

  14. Fragula The Furry
    Thumb Down

    Public Hoes

    Its so erm. "gratifying", ot know that our duly elected MPs are standing up for our right to live in a country where the beer is overpriced, warm and flat, where you can't sit down to drink it cos there are no seats, where you have to go and stand in the rain if you want a smoke, where drunks can gambol freely in the streets, harassing people, urinating on random objects and through letterboxes, and placing traffic cones on top of our cars.

    Tossers! Remind me to stay at home during the next election.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will you smokers ever stop whinging?

    Look, I had the choice of go to a pub full of smoke or stay at home. I was a big enough man to put up with the smoke. Now the boot's on the other foot: you have the choice of going to a pub with no smoke or staying at home.

    Let me tell you -- 80% of the discomfort of my pre-ban hangovers were caused by second-hand smoke. Even now I sometimes can't believe how white my eyes are or how nice my throat feels ever after an excessive 6-10 drinks.

    You should try it -- it's incredible!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    it never gets cheaper does it?

    how about they reduce the tax on pubs if they're so keen on keeping them open? -oh no, can't make anything cheaper can we, let's just increase the price of everything else instead, fuckers.

    as to quitting smoking so you don't have to stand outside sarah, i would suggest that the other alternative is to quit going to palces where it's not allowed any more. neither of which are very good solutions.

    how about they give the landlords the option of being smoking or non-smoking premises, that way there would be a place for everyone! or is it too radical to allow people a choice these days?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    VAT

    Something else that is a touch irritating is that when VAT was reduced alcohol was excluded so we're already paying more tax on that than anything else. Any further tax increases are just taking the piss. We have 12 pubs where I am, 3 so far are boarded up with 2 more on the verge of closing.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sound good

    Where do I sign up?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Typical pub economics

    Really good pub in a metropolis helps house prices rise to the point where it becomes worthwhile turning the pub into flats...Same with parks, churches, pitches, post offices, butchers, fishmongers, grocers, markets, car parking spaces. It's the way to kill a community.

    Sadly the only way to avoid this is for someone to decide what consitutes the basic fabric of an area and subsidise those businesses from local taxes, the equivalent of a local 'green belt'.

    Mine's the one with the Marxist manifesto in the pocket.

  20. A J Stiles
    Flame

    What really did it

    What *really* killed off the pub was the draconian smoking ban.

    Seriously, what would have been wrong with simply allowing *landlords* to decide whether their pubs would be smoking or non-smoking?

    Nobody was ever *forced* to allow smoking in their pub, anyway. The customers in smoking pubs *chose* to drink there; they were free to patronise a non-smoking establishment, if they so desired. The bar staff in smoking pubs *chose* to work there; they were free to take jobs in non-smoking environments, if they so desired.

    If an area was not served by an existing non-smoking pub, then there was an obvious business opportunity: the non-smokers could have opened their own non-smoking pub. (And probably got a discount on the fire insurance, too.) And then the "Oh, just imagine, sweetie, darling, won't it be *lovely* to be able to go out to the pub, enjoy a pint of beer and not end up smelling of other people's smoke?" brigade could have gone *there*, and sat nursing their mineral waters, having their awkward, stilted conversations amid the odour of stale beer, sweat and toilets; while trying not to think about the fact that somebody, somewhere was enjoying a cigarette.

    The final death blow will come before the "Oh, just imagine, sweetie, darling, won't it be *lovely* to be able to go out to the pub, enjoy a glass of water and a fat-free, salt-free, taste-free vegan meal and not have to sit near to people drinking alcohol?" brigade get their way .....

  21. AC
    Thumb Down

    @Sarah Bee

    You're right, there is a simple solution to it indeed. Let the landlords decide whether they want smoking in their establishments or not.

    My guess is that if you got two proper pubs that were exactly the same and allowed smoking in one then one of these pubs would do very well and the other would stuggle.

    Can you figure out which one would do well?

  22. davefb

    Are different pubs taxed differently?

    The local paper had a story about a pub having difficulties. Its a city pub and was complaining about the usual , 'nobody wants to pay £3.10 a pint, when they can get supermarket beer'.

    Then carried on ' we still get evening trade , its the lunch times that are quiet'.

    Well no, nobody would pay £3.10 when they can get the same beers at £2.50 round the corner and how can supermarket beer be causing a drop off during lunch time , are they assuming the office workers are cracking open tins of lager at their desks?

    If you want a pub to stay open, goto it! If you want cheaper beers , goto the pubs with cheaper beers! Hardly rocket science.

  23. Dave

    Re: Smoking

    I always avoided pubs because I didn't want to inhale all that smoke and end up with the foul, stale smoke smell the day after. However, that's had the side effect that I've structured my life so that it doesn't include regular pub visits, and that has persisted even though the smoking ban is now in force. You'll need to train up a new generation of people who don't expect to smoke in pubs or are hardened enough to stand outside without complaining.

  24. ceedee
    Coat

    Re: Smoking

    If the anti-smoking brigade are soooo sure, why not license a few pubs to allow smoking (in specific, well-ventilated, child-free rooms) and see what happens?

    I'll bet their turnover will go through the roof!

    I too used to hang mine in a pub but now sit at home.

  25. Adam
    Unhappy

    title

    The pricing of alcohol is completely ridiculous. It went out this weekend and the prices went something like this:

    Traditonal pub, playing decent music at reasonable volume:

    Fosters: £2.85

    Guinness: £3.20(!)

    Weatherspoons pub, playing horrible dance music at maximum volume, also full of chavs:

    2 pints of fosters and a coke for £4.70.

    The places which cater to people who want to go out for a sociable drink are amazingly expensive, and the places for people who want to go out and get wasted and usually follow steyotypical 'antisocial behaviour' practically drink for free. Then the government complains that there is too much antisocial behaviour and introduces some new law or restriction that only restricts the sensible drinker further.

  26. Neil
    Thumb Down

    Brewing companies own fault

    Ever since back in the late 80's the government saw a quick way to make a buck out of allowing the brewers to start buying each other out and replacing the competition with their product,pubs have been on the decline. Its an envitable outcome that people have lost interest in the mass marketed corporate compliance looking beer houses.

    Bring back the Firkin pubs I say!

  27. Paul Slater
    Stop

    smoking

    Of course, all the surveys about banning smoking in pubs showed an overwhelming number of the population in favour of the ban. I wonder what the results would have been if they had surveyed just those people who actaully go into a pub now and then, rather than the ones who sit at home reading the Daily Mail and working themselves into a lather over something that will never affect them directly.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Sarah Bee

    It's all very well saying "let's not go there", but the fact is that the smoking ban HAS affected pub trade (I don't smoke by the way).

    All those people who said "I'd go more often if they banned smoking" don't go there more often. Still, that's the way some of us prefer it, because the once-a-month "two shandies please" brigade were a miserable bunch to start with.

  29. Law
    IT Angle

    RE: Smoking

    Well in the past there used to be seperate rooms for smokers and non-smokers, but eventually smokers took over the entire pub and non-smoking area's were either dropped or put in stupid areas (often raised platforms at the very back of the pub - you know, so all the non-smokers would be lifted into the blanket of smoke up above, and forced into the hot smoky unventilated section so they could suffer more).

    Just be glad you still get the nice sunny deck-chairs in the summer - while the non-smokers either put up with it blowing in their face, or stay inside all warm and sticky again.... well for the one week of sun anyway! :)

    Personally, I've started using the pub more since the smoking ban, now I don't need to change and immediately wash my clothes then grab a shower when getting home from a nice relaxing night out with friends. Meals are also alot more enjoyable... but hey, I'm not one to impose my beliefs on others, if smoking came back, I'd just stop going... not winge and moan about how hard done to I am that smokers rule to pub once more... :p

  30. Mike Smith
    Thumb Up

    Did I read that correctly?

    "To axe plans to increase beer tax even further...To enforce existing laws - not create new ones - to deal firmly with irresponsible drinkers and premises"

    Good God, a hint of common sense from Westminster. Must be an election in the offing.

    And I have to agree with John Loader. Loud muzak, ice-cold gassy piss and soulless corporate branding do not a nice drinking experience make. I once got chucked out of a pub for lobbing beer into the speakers when they cranked the volume up to 11 and ignored our requests to TURN IT DOWN A BIT PLEASE, even though me and three mates were the only people in the place. I've done plenty of stupid things when on the sauce, but that's something I don't regret.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CCTV

    The rozzers require CCTV in every pub now, who the hell wants to go get drunk on camera?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7946752.stm

    The rozzers require details of every performer for a live music license, their backgrounds, the type of music to play, ethnic group, target audience, who the hell would book a band that would need the approval of your local police force for the license? So music in your pub is restricted.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Form_696

    Face it, the people in power have defined booze as anti-social and hence pubs as antisocial.

  32. Steve

    Too right

    Higher prices and the smoking ban have put me off. I can put my feet up at home, get hammered on a tenner and smoke myself to death with the music of my choice on. Why on earth would I want to go to a pub anymore?

    There's a local round my corner that has a little late night lock-in where the odd ashtray seems to magically appear but generally the pub is no longer a pleasure.

    Oh and Sarah - the other solution would be to allow a public house to apply for a smoking licence where up to 50% of the indoors may be a designated smoking area. Everyone is happy and the large portion of punters that smoke can continue supporting the local pub.

  33. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
    Stop

    what is the world coming to?

    "my coat is.."

    Has Ms Bee succumbed to the commentard syndrome? Inquiring minds want to know.

    I for one ..(no..I'm not going there either)..prefer to go the pub since it became non-smoking. However, I'm not the hard-core 'regular' drinking type so i believe they've lost more than they've gained, certainly in the short-term.

    Now, if they could just ban smoking in public places I can walk from A to B behind a line of smokers and only have to put up with the occasional fart rather than the total lack of cancer-free* air that I currently have to put up with.

    *Normal air pollution not-withstanding.

    Now if only the great unwashed and their MP's could get worked up about state intrusion into our lives in its myriad forms as much as they get worked up about the price of a beer, then we would be in a free-thinking, free-wheeling society sooner than you could say 'how much?'.

  34. The BigYin
    Flame

    Pubs are failing because...

    ...they sell shit beer. Go into any pub and the choice is 3 of Stella, Kronenburg, American (fake) Bud, Miller or regional-wank-lager (e.g. Tennents). Plus 1 of Guinness, Heavy or John Smith's. Cider optional. And that's it. In every pub.

    I put it to you that most of those drinks are rank piss-water not fit for a dog. So why bother going to the pub when I can go to the supermarket/offy and buy a decent clutch of beers to enjoy at home with friends?

    The other thing pubs in the UK get spectacularly wrong is food. It comes out of the microwave and tastes like fermented baby puke. Simple, tasty food (which is all people want from a pub) is not hard to do at all. The rest of the world seems to be able to do it (using local produce too). Why are UK landlords so friggin' useless at it? I blame the likes of "Brewer's Fayre" and "Greene King"

    Note: Pub != Bar. A bar is where idiotic trendies with more debt than sense go to look swank, drink, puke and get into a fight. A pub is where normal people would like to go to meet friends, relax, and have a good time if the pub wasn't shit!!

    There are a few exceptions of course, but these tend to be out of the way, family run real-ale type things.

  35. Steve
    Thumb Down

    @ Sarah

    Respectfully, Sarah, 'Let's Not Go There' has been the media's battle cry all along regarding the smoking ban and it's relation to pub closures. I've hardly seen a mention of it in the rags I frequent, and yet it's bloody obvious at the same time. It's not just the pubs, look at the bingo halls. Everyones's freaking out, but Don't Mention The Smoking Ban! are the orders.

    A properly air-conditioned environment that takes smoking into account will NOT leave you smelling like an ashtray. Both smoking and air conditioning have been around long enough to have solved that problem. However, something like that will always cost more than opening a window, so lot's of establishments never bothered. Design restrictions on old buildings wouldn't have helped, either.

    So now, the civilised thing to do would be to create Smoking Licenses for rooms or areas that are able to meet a certain standard of ventilation. Do you really believe that if something like that actually happened, it wouldn't be massively over-subscribed?

    You see, don't you, the short slippery slope between your dismissive 'why not just give up the fags' well-meant nannying statement and genocidal dictatorship? Surely?

    So now, when I stand on the wind-and-rain swept train station platforms of my life, or in the toilets at the airport, I feel again the illicit thrills of my schooldays. Smoking is exciting again.

  36. MarkJ
    Go

    @John Loader

    Erm, given that my experience is the exact opposite, I can only conclude that you moved from a shit area in the South to a nice area in the North and that I don't get out to the nice parts of the North nearly enough.

  37. Stephen
    Coat

    Cheap Booze

    Damn right the problem is cheap booze flooding in from the supermarket. The other day I managed to get a bottle of wine for cheaper than a pint, just goes to illustrate what the problem is here.

    The Supermarkets have long been killing off the small businesses such as your local butchers for years, pubs have been next in line for ages being undercut and are unable to compete against the supermarkets with their sick profits.

    What sort of society will we live in without pubs? Everyone buys their booze and drinks at home? probably alone as well right? yep that's a good social life right there, far be it for you to actually go to a place where you can talk to someone while you drink.

    Stop drinking cheap supermarket alcohol at home guys!

    I'll get my coat, the one with change remaining in it for a pint down my local.

  38. Seán

    Parasites

    Bemoaning the death of the pubs is like whining about pimps not being able to bring in slaves from eastern Europe. The scum who sell overpriced piss poor beer to children and pensioners alike should have been bulldozed years ago. It's a pleasure to see them going under and hopefully see a decline in families ruined by the bastards.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    What's Next

    Ooooohhhhh..... Have the Vintners Ass. joined forces with the Recording Industry Ass. of America and the Motion Picture Ass. of America, home drinking is destroying the pub business.

    No it's not you morons, its the prices you charge.

    What's next, a campaign to a campaign to "Save the Emulsified High-Fat Offal Tube"….. eh Sausage…..

    Paris, 'cos she knows how to save a sausage

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    That smoking ban....

    ....has led to me going round to my local quite regularly, because now I can drink in there without gasping for breath and coming out smelling like an ashtray, never mind with my lungs full of carcinogens! I'd actually also rather like that law to say that it is not permitted for the terminally dim cretins to stand smoking outside the entrance as I have to walk through that to get in, but I've found that an easy way to deal with that is not to enter the pub when they're there, so sometimes I decide not to pop in for a beer or two and hence don't put any money in the publican's pocket.

    What I've noticed in our village is that the number of people actually in the pub is little changed, they still all drink in there so there has been little change in that respect. But a lot of the people in there now who don't smoke comment on how much nicer it is, and they go there a lot more often.

    AC, well you can guess. I'm all for people doing what they want, but smoking is the one common pursuit that doesn't just affect the smoker and it's way past time that the consequences for them came home to roost.

  41. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: title

    Wetherspoons don't play any music at all.

    Smoking debate was unavoidable, and the 'let's not go there' was a feeble slap in the face of the inexorable. But anyway - you don't have to quit smoking to enjoy pubs if you don't like the standing-outside bit, you just have to develop sufficient willpower to go for an hour or two without sucking on your nicotine dummy. Or get an electronic cigarette. Those things are brill.

    Feh.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Dave, Remember the poor,,,,,

    The trouble is that ... Party A says Drink is good, Party B says Drink is Bad, Party A then says, increase Tax, Party B says Remember the poor, how could you deprive them of their cheep drink in a time of recession, one of the few pleasures they have. Party A says oh dear we hadn't thought of that we'll do nothing.

    In fact there are so many circular arguments going on about the rights and wrongs of drinking, I've lost track of who has said what, and I think they have as well.

    Yes lets have a minimum price for alcohol, which should be at least the Duty, and preferably the cost price at the producers gates. But, there are other factors involved like, the four pubs in my village are pretty much the same, sports pubs, so I'd have to drive somewhere, as the public transport in the evening is non-existent, and £50 for taxis, well, that's a very expensive pint.

    We also shouldn't forget that people are becoming more insular anyway, for a whole host of reasons, not least that my working day and commute precludes going to the pub, or doing much of anything in the evening, something which seems to be the case in the south, more than the north where people seem surprised that going to work takes between 1 & 2 hours for a lot of us in London, when they think 30 minutes is a long commute.

  43. Andus McCoatover

    Prior article - link below this artcile "Beer 4 quid/pint"

    Oulu, Finland

    Has been €4 (£3.80) for 500ml - LESS than a pint - here for awhile at my local. €5+ in the city, except in 'Happy Hour' - (10:00-16:00 - go figure) where it's €2.80 in a couple of places - one where oddly smoking is still permitted at the table. Of course, you can guess the 'clientele' but it's packed. Till about 16:10, when there's a mass exodus to Peppers, where it's H/H till 17:00. Then bugger off home.

    Even in employment, I got about ½ salary compared to what I got in UK.

    Since the recession bit - hard, places are pretty deserted. If my local Vietnamese-run boozer didn't have a restaurant/takeaway, they'd be bust.

    Only time there's plenty of folks here is at "KELA Payday" (KELA's the dole centre here) and a couple of days after. Then, everyone goes to Lidl to get a "Mäyräkoira" ('badger dog'=12 pack).

    Sitting in the pub here all day myself, helping owner get his new WiFi switch working and tidy the network - obviously works now - and I've seen 5 people here from 11:30 till now (14:45). One drank coffee and another water. Very different a couple of years ago.

    -Smoking restriction has had a major effect in my opinion, still-smoking pubs are considerably more popular, but that ends in June. The beauty of having both smoking* and non-smoking pubs is that you can SEE a direct correlation that smoking bans kill pubs. It aint subtle, believe me! Forget the BS that the Gummint fed you brits. As I said, it is very obvious. Two pubs side-by side, one allows smoking, one doesn't. Beer same price. Guess which one's practically empty.

    A poster above complained about freezing his 'nads off outside, but here we just got above freezing for the first time since November. -10C, -30C not unusual.

    Sorry, Moderatrix, but maybe you need to visit more bistro's not boozers.

    *they got a 2-year exemption if their air-conditioning met strong criteria. It ends in June for all. Middle of a recession? Nice one, Minister for health Hyssälä!

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    @sarah

    unfortunately being 42 with no pension & still renting and having a non-fatal but debilitating incurable illness, the last thing I need is to reach retirement age.

  45. Jerome
    Stop

    Hypocrisy alert

    They want to trust responsible adults to make informed choices - sounds good. They want to end the irresponsible promotion of alcohol too. Is that because adults can't be trusted to make informed choices? Or does it perhaps have more to do with supermarket offers cutting into pub profits?

  46. Yorkshirepudding
    Flame

    smoking ban

    the smoking ban has had fuck all effect around my usual haunts apart from the fact i have to run the gauntlet of the lung cancer club at the door but i find holding my breath and barging through helps get my point accross. so stop immediately blaming that, nicotine nancies....

    if anything where we go now is a lot nicer for it.

    if you ask me its to do with the decline in juke boxes...

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    boozer

    Why do people go up the pub anyway?

    Socialising? Isn't that what Farcebook is for?

    Drinking? Don't need to leave the house for that.

    Pulling? Oki, you might have a swift drink or two in the pub before the clubs open.

    There's more to it than just the smoking ban or booze prices... honestly, a better "night out" can be had by staying in, get a few mates round, a few crates and a particularly bad, Japanese movie or three - just need to dial out for pizza and jobsagudun. If it's a more musical night out you want, clubs and gigs are far better than pubs anyway.

    Oki, I am a smoker but I wouldn't actually _want_ to drink in some pubs now, without the tobacco smoke you can smell the stale sweat, stale beer and even staler urinals.

  48. Graham Marsden
    Boffin

    @Smokers

    Let's try a little survey:

    Over the next month or so (to be fair, because the weather is going to be warm enough to stand outside without freezing anything off) count the number of people in the pub and then count the number of people go outside and smoke. Divide one by the other and get a ratio.

    Now consider what the pub would be like for all those inside who *aren't* smoking, don't want to breathe the stuff or end up reeking of it simply to enjoy an evening with their friends, but would be forced to endure it if there wasn't a smoking ban.

    I entirely support the right of individuals to make their own lifestyle choices, but not when they force those choices on others out of selfishness.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >Wetherspoons don't play any music at all.

    That's not true, btw.

    Some don't, most around here do though.

  50. Steve
    Dead Vulture

    @ Sarah

    Those would be the electronic cigarettes that are being considered for their own ban?

    The 'smoking debate' my arse. There has only ever been one side and the new laws are built on some pretty bad science and statisitics.

    How bad? I'd love to know. If only I could find some kind of Technology/Science/Current Affairs website that would Go There....

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    smokers

    are weak.

  52. al
    Paris Hilton

    faults all around..

    .. there is no one reason for the unavoidable demise of the ubiquitous, cultural icon blighty pub. There are many:

    - The too rich to care owners. If they ate and had beer at their own pubs once a week, the quality of the shite they serve would've been mucho bettero.

    - The taxes.. yeah, they count. Instead of 3ice a week people are going 2ice a week.

    - add recession and now some people are going only 1ce a week. That bad, yeah.

    - smoking ban. Due to smoking; there were hardly any non-smokers in pubs earlier. With the smoking ban even the smokers have left. non-smokers re not coming back(as you can see from some comments here). Smokers, even if they come, they don't stay long - they need a cigarette break.

    - "Having Fun" is bad now. Suddely with likes of Jaqui in charge, "having fun" is considered a sin. So the overall anger puts a dampner on any fun thing you do. The return on the money is not the same.

    - Good british music. UK has not produced a great band in ages now. That would help too.

    Will things improve with economy ?

    - I really, really doubt it. This is going to be one historic event where all the pubs will ultimately get replaced by coffee joints or even more costlier lounge bars.

    - Only pubs, which maintain a good quality now - have any long term future. That would be just a handful. Probably in 2 digits in entire london and 3 digits in entire blighty.

    Some suggestions to pub owners/management:

    - lobby for reduced taxes and higher supermarket taxes.

    - improve quality of ale and snacks. Reduce items on menu; sell only what sells most - but make it fresh/good.

    - re-introduce quizzes, live music, dance floor (some open area for younsters to shake hip).

    - improt some new (german?) beers which are not available in supermarket easily.

    Yeah, life sucks. Paris, coz she is good at it.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    The Solution

    Ban all alcohol sales except from pubs or off licenses. Less cheap alcohol from supermarkets would really help pubs. If you also have frequenct under-age checks for the off licenses, with the threat of losing their license (and therefore their only income), they will enforce age checking a bit harder too. Impose an exclusion zone so there is only 1 off license allowed for every council ward. The supermarkets won't miss the extra income (in fact, they will probably be better off.) Additionally, licensing a room in the pub for smokers (with strict separation rules for the non-smokers/behind the bar/kitchen) would help too. (I am a former smoker and personally like the ban).

    Finally, restruct pub prices to being a low multiple of off license prices.

    There, sorted.

  54. Andus McCoatover
    Coat

    @Graham Marsden

    Yep, just tried your survey.

    1 person in smoking room (ok, it aint outside, but same idea).

    0 persons in pub (I'm the one in the smoking room, using eeepc).

    1/0 is infinity. Fuc*ks any other result you can multiply it to. Unless my smoking/drinking has completely 'pan-galactic-gargle-blasted' my few remaining brain cells.

    -Getting coat, try same experiment outside.

    -(pause)

    -Yep, same result.

  55. Alien8n Silver badge

    blaming non smokers

    So I'm a shandy drinking pansy eh?

    As a non smoker I actually prefer having a serious drink without the knowledge that I require a complete change of clothes and a long hot shower to remove the stink of smoke. And that's exactly what it is, a stink. I also like the fact that I can actually afford to drink as I don't have to spend most of my hard earned money trying to maintain a drug habit (I don't count the alcohol on the grounds that I at least can say no to a drink when I wish to).

    And strangely enough the majority of people I know are for a smoke free pub, and much like myself tend to drink quite a lot in the pub as a direct result. And the pub I drink in is doing very well, actually expanding the upstairs into a 3rd bar area, with all 3 bars packed out every weekend. I have noticed though that pubs aren't as full as they used to be during the week. This is something I've observed over many years, not just because of the smoking ban. The simple fact is that the people who used to drink aren't drinking anymore. And the next generation aren't drinking as more pubs are now challenging anyone who looks under 21 (with some pubs actually not allowing anyone under 21 in now as well). I remember drinking in a full bar on a Thursday night. The same pub today would be lucky to have more than 3 people in on any given weekday. You just can't afford to drink every night anymore so I limit myself to a weekend and I have a few quid left over for an occaisional drink midweek with a few games of pool.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Blimey

    Weird this. I work in the leisure industry, and not one person I work with (out of several breweries and estate companies) has attributed cheap supermarket booze to the closure of their pub(s).

    Nearly all blame the smoking ban.

    A stupid amount of cash was spent by the industry in the 2-3 years leading up to the smoking ban to try and come up with a solution to counter the expected drop off in sales.

    Cheap booze has always been available from the supermarket. The start of the downfall of the pub can be tracked back to........yep you guessed it, the smoking ban.

    It's not a right or wrong thing, its just misleading to blame pub closures on supermarket booze rather than the actual fact that the gov got it wrong with their promises that there would be no effect on pubs by banning smoking.

    Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind my pint being cheaper, but don't by any means think this will stop future pub closures. Its gone too far.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Smokers

    The waste product of your smoking is secondary smoke, the waste product of my beer drinking is piss. Would you like me to return the complement?

    The right of freedom of speech does not include the right to shout "Fire" in a crowded theatre, if you want to take 20 years off your like and give yourself lung cancer, don’t do it in a public building, do it somewhere it that doesn't affect me.

    Saying the people should be allowed to smoke in pubs is the same as saying that you should be allowed to drive on whatever side of the road you want.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    ...personal experience

    we (my wife & I) used to go out once a week, and stay till closing. Then the smoking ban, and we tried going outside for a ciggy (interesting they bought it in over *summer*). However as it started getting cold, windy and wet, we found ourselves getting home earlier. Now we tend to have a light meal out, and then get home. We don't smoke in the house, but if you're going to get wet, cold and uncomfortable, it's better to do it in our back garden, than a pub car park.

    our genial landlord (who curiously enough gave up smoking) has noticed that now, it's not just smokers, who stay away ... being a true local pub, where all regulars are known to each other, a lot of the non-smokers have said they no longer go as their friends (the smokers) don't.

    it would be simplistic to try and blame the smoking ban alone. However, it has combined with a nexus of other events to create a "perfect storm".

  59. Andrew Woodvine

    Weatherspoons and music

    @Sarah Bee In the past one of the things Weatherspoons have made their no music and no television policies a selling point. Fact is now though that many Weatherspoons have music and televisions.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @The Anti-smokers - holier than thou

    So it's not ok to kill ourselves with cigarettes, but it IS ok to kill ourselves with booze? Admittedly second hand smoking is a problem for non-smokers, but second hand drinking is also a very real problem. All that violence, vomit, piss soaked streets, and unwanted children and car accidents. Yes drinking never did anyone any harm.

    Alcohol is highly addictive and in 'excess' which is the mode in which most people (even the nice ones) consume it, causes major damage to the brain, kidneys, liver, heart, bone structure as well as causing stomach cancer. In fact you lose a hell of a lot more brain cells by getting blotto once a week than through regular nicotine intake.

    The point is, we have two highly addictive, dangerous, drugs of choice, both of which have a huge impact on society. Both are manufactured by people profiting from our moronic addictions and both are very highly taxed by the government.

    The real question is how much should we have to rely on the government to protect us from our own self-destructive urges. Should we ban dangerous sports? Running with scissors? Crossing the road? Paracetomol?

    Personally, despite being addicted to both fags and booze, I think they should be taxed highly, to pay for the accompanying damages both drugs do. However, blanket bans on anything are rarely effective.

    I am sure that if they had allowed pubs to have some kind of smoking license, and only employed smokers, less pubs would be closing and both smokers and drinkers would be able to indulge our stupid vices as we choose.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @snokers are weak

    So are trolls

  62. Steve

    Re: Smoking

    There's always a few who'll pop up to claim they go to the pub more often now, but they are in a small minority. We used to have two non-smoking pubs before the ban and they had the lowest trade. After the ban, the level of trade in the rest of the city's pubs has dropped to that of the previous non-smoking pubs.

    Sure, there are other factors, but claiming the ban is irrelevant is just nonsense.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @ponder stebbins

    "The waste product of your smoking is secondary smoke, the waste product of my beer drinking is piss. Would you like me to return the complement?"

    Just the sort of behaviour you expect to see on a Friday night, just behind the bloke being beaten to a pulp for having the temerity to want a kebab at 23:30, by a bunch of drunk w@nkers having a harmless drug free night out.

    I can't remember the last time I saw a nicotine crazed smoker glassing a total stranger.

  64. spam

    To support the British pub as a vital part of social life in local communities

    Vital part my arse. Politicians are destroying what little society we have left. They don't want a society where people are collectively responsible for getting on with and manage their own lives they want a nation of powerless individuals taxed up to the eyeballs and entirely dependent on the state which controls every aspect of their lives. They crave the power and importance of being in control of a monstrous state responsible for everything.

  65. Chris Bradshaw
    Joke

    @ Sarah re smoking

    On your 'real easy solution' to the poor guy 'standing around freezing my nads off' outside the pub, I absolutely disagree. Castrating the poor chap just because he wants a cig isn't really on...

    Why don't you suggest that he just stops smoking???

  66. Andus McCoatover
    Joke

    @@@snokers are weak (Smokers, surely?)

    So are masturbators.

    'Nuff said??

  67. Law
    Heart

    @ Sarah

    "Wetherspoons don't play any music at all."

    Except the very occasional exception - like the weatherspoons in Port Solent, Pompy... or at least it did when I lived there in 05/06... not been since.

    Heart - because "I am in love with this writer/commentator, and want to have his/her babies"...... apparently

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmmmm

    @AC 14:19 GMT

    Try reading what I said again, my point is about the effects of secondary smoke, not drinking to excess.

  69. The Jase

    @AC @The Anti-smokers - holier than thou

    "but second hand drinking is also a very real problem. All that violence, vomit, piss soaked streets, and unwanted children and car accidents. Yes drinking never did anyone any harm."

    But the effects of second hand drinking are illegal.

    Violence... criminal offence

    drunk and disorderly... offence

    car accidents while drunk... offence.

    rape... offence.

    So, should we have parity with causing second hand smoking being a jailable offence?

  70. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  71. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @ smokers are weak

    Of course, now the weather has improved non-smokers who want to sit outside find it's like sitting in traffic behind a bus that needs servicing.

    Yes, I know, we can't have it all ways. But I have to say, if smokers want any sympathy for being booted out into the cold they should consider being a little less dickish in their defensiveness. The fact that many of them (OK, many of you) seem almost gleeful about the effect their habit has on others - long-term health claims aside, it's undeniably unpleasant for others - doesn't exactly make people want to stick up for them. Because that sort of crowing makes you sound like a selfish arsehole.

  72. Peter Kay

    Might help if the breweries stopped screwing the landlords

    My local is a freehold, and has beer at 1.55 a pint. The pub down the road is tied, and has the same pint for at least 45p more.. (45p extra a pint was not the reason I moved pubs, however).

    I can't say I'd be surprised at the 3 pound a pint pubs having difficulties - I occasionally do go to expensive bars accepting that's the price for a different atmosphere or somewhere where there are events going on. If the cost is purely for trendiness' sake - good riddance.

    It would also help if the breweries stopped mandating shit beer and crap reheated food instead of decent homecooked meals.

    Personally I think the smoking ban is a huge boon; even my smoking friends are in favour. The extended opening hours are fantastic too - I can actually arrive in the pub at 11pm, rather than cope with the old system that resulted in a last minute rush for the bar and throwing alcohol down your neck instead of leisurely drinking. It'll take a while to change society, though.

  73. Pierre Silver badge

    Smoking ban or not?

    Just a quick word from Canada: smoking banned here too, and it's *massively* colder in the winter than it could ever be in Ol' Blighty. Pubs and bars are still packed (and annoyingly so), even during the winter, even when it's -35, and yes, people still go outside for a cig. You can get cheap booze from stores, too, though I admit that beer is astonishingly expensive in some Brit premises, I'm surprised everytime I come for a visit.

    So yeah, I would say that the price of booze, together with rougher economy and the "antisocial behaviour" stance are more of a problem than the fag ban. Unless Brits are deficient in the willpower department. Or have particularly cold-sensitive nads.

  74. Andus McCoatover
    Happy

    @@ Sarah

    Heart - because "I am in love with this writer/commentator, and want to have his/her babies"...... apparently

    Don't think about it.

    I had the 'experience' of talking to Ms. Bee ( AKA Sara(h) ) on the speaking telephone.

    I had to lie down for a while afterwards. She put me back in my box in no uncertain terms. Don't mess with the Moderatrix!!!!

  75. Maty

    Some dumb questions

    Is supermarket booze so much cheaper? Does the govt tax pub booze more, or do the landlords have greater operating costs/profits? And why don't the pubs just buy their booze from the supermarkets?

    And surely the solution is to get pub prices down rather than keep trying to get supermarket prices up.

    Maybe (since our govt likes making new laws) create an offence called 'drunk in public'. Statutory £50 fine, used to subsidize beer in pubs. There'd be a nice symmetry in having drunken chavs subsidize cheap beer for the rest of us.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This argument again

    @Tom Heppleston Posted Monday 6th April 2009 15:10 GMT

    " We live in a nanny state where freedom to exist is slowly being eradicated by the do-gooders of the world trying to tell us how to lead our lives... "

    I'm just wondering where you draw the line on what constitutes the "nanny state", being made to drive on left hand side (in the UK), is that the nanny state robbing people of the freedom to drive on the right hand side? Is having to stop at a red traffic light the nanny state interfering with the freedom to drive your car whatever way you want.

    This argument is always put forward by smokers, smokers pay their tobacco tax therefore they are entitled to treatment from the health service. Somehow I think that the extra tax a smoker pays on 20 cigarettes does not pay the salary of a consultant, nurses, expensive cancer drugs etc.etc.

    Having the freedom to do something (smoke) does not also automatically give you the right to harm others (secondary smoke).

  77. Pat

    @ Ponder Stebbins Posted Monday 6th April 2009 15:50 GMT

    Quote = "Having the freedom to do something (smoke) does not also automatically give you the right to harm others (secondary smoke)."

    True as far as it goes, but I can't recall that I've ever been in a pub where smokers were FORCING non-smokers to inhale their tar-&-nicotine laden respiratory wastes (secondary smoke).

    I know a lot of non-smokers, like me, would go to some pubs because the attractions of those bars (such as lively social scene with lots of good-looking smoking young women) could outweigh the unpleasantness of the smokey atmosphere & the smelly clothes the next day. I was making a choice which suited me, regardless of whether it would suit you or get your approval.

    If the UK is supposed to be a tolerant, freedom-loving democracy then I don't understand why we cannot allow pubs to choose to cater for smokers or non-smokers.

    As to the balance between smoking-tax and NHS usage, simply do the sums to find out how much extra must be paid into the NHS for ALL the self-harm we indulge in (alcohol, obesity etc - not just smoking) and tax accordingly, making sure the money isn't diverted away from its intended use.

    (First they came for the smokers...

    Then they came for political-bloggers/ fetishists / pr0n-enthusiasts / unapproved-though-harmless-minority)

  78. Steve
    Stop

    @ ponder stebbins

    Estimated annual cost to the NHS for treating smoking-related illness = £2billion

    Annual tax revenue from tobacco = £8billion

    Go check the ASH website. Look at their plan to fill the tax gap when no-one smokes anymore. They admit they don't have one.

    smokers also save the NHS money by popping off early, saving the need for future hip replacements, etc.

    The government needs smokers.

  79. Ross Stewart

    On Smoking

    Fact: Pubs have lost some customers due to the smoking ban

    Fact: Pubs have become better places to be since the smoking ban

    This is all we can suppose about bars and smoking, as the implementation of the ban has prevented us from confirming whether the ban has had any direct effect on pub takings. If however the government were to grow some balls and introduce licensed smoking premises...

    I can dream can't I?

  80. Richard
    Thumb Up

    Our Local

    Our local burned down in February 2007.

    It was shut for over a year.

    Before the fire I never went near it. Too smoky, too much SkySportsTV, too much lager, lousy food and not a single drop of proper cask ale.

    Now it's rebuilt and reopened, and it's gone from strength to strength.

    No smoke, No TV, one or two lagers, four fresh local draught ales and a fifth joining soon.

    Good food and friendly service.

    If a pub can understand its market it'll do well.

    Oh, and we certainly go for a meal and a drink far more often now than before the brilliant, way overdue smoking ban.

  81. Steve
    Flame

    @ Ponder Stebbins again

    ".....what constitutes the "nanny state", being made to drive on left hand side (in the UK), is that the nanny state robbing people of the freedom to drive on the right hand side? Is having to stop at a red traffic light the nanny state interfering with the freedom to drive your car whatever way you want."

    so, smoking=anarchy? glad we got that sorted!

    Smoking really winds some people (like you) up doesn't it?

    and that's why

    Smoking is Cool

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Maty

    Called "drunk and disorderly" - however last x govts have reduced it and kept it reduced to a lesser offence than "breach of the peace", what happens...you get nicked, put in a cell to sober up then get let off scot free.

    perhaps taking the idiots to court (like it used to be)/ fining the hell out of them might focus their minds. Even better....weekend detention with hard labour...might focus their "mind" a little

  83. A J Stiles
    Flame

    @ all sanctimonious non-smokers

    Nobody was ever forcing you to breathe in other people's smoke. You could always have gone and found a non-smoking pub, and just drank there. Despite the name, a pub is actually *private* property -- members of the public are only admitted by invitation of the landlord, whose decision as to who comes in and who doesn't is final.

    But no, you couldn't be satisfied with that. You just couldn't stand the thought that somebody, somewhere might be having a fag even if they weren't breathing it anywhere near you. You had to go and ruin it for everybody else, didn't you?

    As the old saying goes: Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.

  84. Jon Pick

    @Ponder

    I think the argument is that drinking causes far more "collateral damage" than smoking even taking passive smoking into account, rather than 'smokers should be allowed to blow smoke in others faces'

    I'm not taking a side here, just clarifying.

    Anyway, shouldn't you be in the High Energy Magic Building (or Somerset at the very least)?

  85. Dan Paul
    Flame

    Same thing happened in Niagara Falls, NY USA

    The same problems happened here in Niagara Falls, NY when they banned smoking in public places although it got a lot worse when an Indian Casino opened up there. Due to Indian sovereign property rights, patrons can smoke anywhere in the Casino. You can't smoke indoors in public anywhere else in the state. All the small "pubs" (we call them gin mills or dives) lost the majority of their already tenuous business to the Casino almost overnight.

    We don't have the luxury of worrying if the price of beer is cheaper in the supermarket or the local dive because New York State decided that they will tax the piss out of us no matter where we buy our booze. They call it a "Sin" tax.

    Don't you know it's a sin to have a few drinks and relax after worring about all the taxes we have to pay? (with the money we no longer have, because the "State" has taxed the residents and businessmen rright out of the state so we have a declining tax base so the first thing our elected representatives do is raise our taxes again, stupid Tw@ts, the lot of 'em)

    It makes a Damn Yankee yearn for the return of the British Monarchy!

  86. Sabine Miehlbradt
    Happy

    Smoking in pubs

    Easy - before the smoking ban the smokers went to the pubs and the non-smokers bought the cheap booze in the supermarket and drank at home.

    Now it's the other way around.

    At least now people may have a pint or meal without having to wash their clothes afterwards or have their own flat smell like a ashtray for days. You can even wear something nice to the pub without having to remember if it's machine-washable. Woot.

    Too bad I gave up booze 3 years ago, but we have two local pubs here who do a very good cuisine - as in full plates, reasonably priced.

    I second the idea of having an extra tax on off licence booze, though. Especially if the money stays local. A lot of village centres could do with a little refurbishment. The beergarden season is upon us. Well - the bratwurst season, at least.

    As for fining people - you screw up-> you get fined. You behave-> it's nobody's business how drunk you are.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    tax

    AC at 13:02 started to hint at something that had occurred to me, i don't think anyone else has really mentioned it:

    If supermakets are selling ludicrously cheap supermarket booze, and we think that consuming too much booze is unhealthy, but we don't want pubs to close as a result of taxing alcohol to the hilt to prevent excessive consumption, then why not have separate tax rates for on-licenced and off-licensed premises? That way the pubs can have a bit of room to pay their overheads instead of paying tax, without being completely out-priced by the supermarkets etc.

    Of course they might still decide to charge high prices for drinks etc but at least then it would be their own choice and their own problem if they failed.

  88. Peter Kay
    Thumb Up

    @Andus and @Maty

    @Andus. Don't encourage him, man! Thereg's switchboard will be overcome!

    @Maty. Is this sarcasm? I can't tell.

    Several reasons. Supermarket alcohol should be more expensive to buy than wholesale alcohol, because the pub has to add a markup. Also, supermarket beer is always sold in standard units (330ml, 500ml etc), whilst wholesale beer is sold in barrels or casks (obviously for things like j2o, wkd, bottled water etc this does not apply, and some clubs do literally give you cans of Red Stripe etc).

    It's not economic to buy 50 individual pints of Spitfire or similar, keep them all at the correct temperature and get someone to go into the cellar and open one each time a pint is desired ;).

    In any case, regardless of the fact that alcohol is substantially cheaper from wholesalers, tied pubs (pubs that have a contract with a brewery, have to sell the brewery's beer and pay rent) have to buy from the brewery. Brewery prices for beer are somewhat higher than from other wholesalers. Some of the more paranoid/sneaky breweries install devices to monitor the amount of beer ('beer' as in 'shit draught flow beer' or 'lager' - not proper real ale) sold, as otherwise landlords might be a bit naughty and buy from sources they shouldn't. If they get caught the brewery fine them..

    The brewery contracts can also account for a certain amount of anti social consequences. If a tenant is given ludicrously high sales targets in a short timeframe, the plan often adopted is not to get lots of regular drinkers having a few pints of Old Codger every night, but to pack the place full of kids (many underage) with high markup low maintenance (doesn't have to be stored carefully and temperature controlled) alcohol. The kids then spill out onto the street and pick fights, break things, throw up, have drunken unprotected sex etc etc..

    Being drunk in public is already an offense.

  89. Graham Marsden
    Joke

    @Andus McCoatover

    So I said "Over the next month or so", but you did a single "spot survey" and then extrapolated from that because it gave a result you liked...

    Hmm, do you work for the Government?

  90. IR

    Not exactly a recent thing

    Before the smoking ban was even scheduled, I knew 5 pubs near me that closed in a year. The pub industry has been on a steady decline for more than 10 years. Gone are the days of a man blowing half his pay check on a Friday night after work (he will now have to wait in line at an ATM since it is all paid straight into his account now).

    The UK economy has drastically slowed in the last year and if a pub was going to close due to the smoking ban it would have happened long before now. There is a noticeable lack of proper stats for before and after to back up anything about the effect of the smoking ban.

    I don't know what is funnier. Smokers admitting that they were the only ones stupid enough to pay the outrageous prices, or admitting that they are so addicted that they can't go a few hours without a fag.

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You Brits are unbelievable

    Your pubs, a very real part of your national identity, are dying and all you people can do is start a shouting match over the relative merits of smoking. Whacky Jacky is laughing herself to sleep at night.

    Enjoy your cubicles.

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @This argument again

    "Somehow I think that the extra tax a smoker pays on 20 cigarettes does not pay the salary of a consultant, nurses, expensive cancer drugs etc.etc."

    Actually, the annual revenue on tobacco in the UK is approximately 3 times its annual estimated cost to the NHS, so you can hardly argue that smokers (of which I am NOT one) are not paying for their treatment.

    If you're going to join the debate, arm yourself with some facts at least.

  93. The Jase

    @Tom Heppleston

    " being eradicated by the do-gooders of the world trying to tell us how to lead our lives... "

    So you don't want to do good then? Tom Heppleston, evil doer.... It has a nice ring to it.

  94. Andus McCoatover

    @Pierre, Canada

    <<Unless Brits are deficient in the willpower department. Or have particularly cold-sensitive nads.>>

    Not the nads, it's just that wearing Long Johns or having a still-warm freshly-clubbed seal cub strapped to each leg looks, well - frankly, silly. Just for a smoke.

    Trust that's -35 Centigrade, not Fareinheit. Not that it makes much difference down there. Still well into monkey-welding-tackle territory.

  95. This post has been deleted by its author

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ AJ Stiles

    " a pub is actually *private* property -- members of the public are only admitted by invitation of the landlord, whose decision as to who comes in and who doesn't is final."

    Most businesses are. Businesses also have to comply with the law. The premises needs to be safe, there is a duty of care to staff and customers, etc. Or are you saying health and safety laws do not apply when on private property?

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Smoking part 692

    They should have at least let the landlords take the decision as to how to run their own premises- there were always options for separate rooms for smokers, and in pubs where food isn't served (and there's no free Daily Mail to peruse) I honestly can't see the issue. The pubs in my area are mainly food free and 'traditional' working class pubs. Thanks to the smoking ban they are now shutting at a rate of knots, and while not my own choice (lousy bitter) they served the community well as a place for people to get together.

    The crappy, ridiculous irony is that allowing these to close in an area with F all else to do is likely to greatly increase NuLab's beloved anti-social behaviour. These were "family" pubs in the sense that whole extended families used them, allowing parents to keep an eye on their overly hormonal 18 year olds while allowing said yoof to have a beer or two. Now they'll be out unsupervised and tormenting old ladies after a few Tesco's Super Strengths. All for the want of common sense and a few extractor fans.

    New Labour? Less joined-up thinking than fucked up thoughtlessness.

    Paris, she's got more brains than the collective Labour party.

  98. Stephen Jenner

    Got a problem, get the government to sort it out!

    The problem with pubs is that ordinary people socialise there... And we can't have that, can we?

    Honestly, it doesn't bear thinking about, it was MP's that caused this situation by continuous meddling and one thing is for sure, further meddling is only going to make it worse for the customers (remember them?).

  99. Richard

    If the smoking ban is really health related..

    Then why are vehicles which are powered by diesel engines still allowed in town and city centres, given the amount of pollutants and carcinogens produced?

    Mr Sanctimonious anti-smoker is quite happy to pollute my lungs with the junk coming out the back of his oil burner, yet gets most indignant if he smells the slightest whiff of cigarette smoke.

    @Sabine Niehlbradt -" I second the idea of having an extra tax on off licence booze, though. Especially if the money stays local. A lot of village centres could do with a little refurbishment" What a heart-warming sentiment, it's just a shame that it wouldn't happen. It would probably be used to pay the bonus or pension of a city banker or in a politicians pocket as expenses.

    FYI - I'm not a smoker.

  100. Paul

    Point 6...

    6) Allow people the right to smoke in pubs if the landlord allows it / there is proper ventilation.

    That would have saved three pubs I know of alone.

  101. Gianni Straniero

    Three-pipe problem

    At the risk of prolonging this conversation/screed/rant more than is necessary, I thought I'd have a look at another sector where smoking is banned: transport. I got all these figures from the ONS.

    London buses became all non-smoking on 14th February 1991. Annual passenger journeys have increased year on year from 1.1 bn journeys to 2.1bn by 2007/8.

    National train services became fully non-smoking in 2005. Passenger journeys have increased from 1.1 bn to 1.2 bn since then, and total passenger kilometers increased from 43 bn to 49 bn.

    Smoking was banned on the London Underground in 1987 following the King's Cross fire. At the time there were 800m passenger journeys. There are now 1.1 bn p.a.

    Aeroplanes became non-smoking gradually, throughout the 1990s. At the beginning of the decade, UK passengers took 30 m overseas flights. Now, we take 70 m.

    So we smokers haven't voted, quite literally, with our feet when it comes to transport. And stepping outside the pub for a smoke seems more of a privilege than a nuisance when you consider your choices aboard a long-haul flight.

  102. A J Stiles
    Black Helicopters

    @ AC 07:18

    "[T]here is a duty of care to staff and customers, etc. Or are you saying health and safety laws do not apply when on private property?" -- I'm saying there are limits. The staff and customers in pubs are all grown-ups, by virtue of which they can be trusted to make their own minds up. It's not as though they don't know smoking -- or even just being around smokers -- are bad for them. They CHOSE to do it anyway and accept the consequences.

    If someone wants to allow smoking on their private property, and it's somewhere where you don't have to go, then what the hell has that got to do with you anyway? Find somewhere else, if you don't like it. Give landlords back the right to determine their own smoking policy and Let The Market Decide. If they can find staff who don't mind working in a smoky atmosphere, afford the extra for their insurance with the obvious fire risk from cigarettes and matches and the customers don't object to drinking in a smoky pub, then more power to them I say. Meanwhile, you are of course still free to choose to go and drink in a pub where the landlord or landlady has instituted his or her *own* smoking ban.

    Just which part of that do you find so objectionable?

  103. al
    Paris Hilton

    @ law @Andus McCoatover

    Blogger to marry commenter

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-10212674-71.html?tag=mncol;posts

    This should keep SB fans going for another decade.

    ----

    PH, coz she wouldn't marry them - just bl*w'em.

  104. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ AJ Styles

    "If someone wants to allow smoking on their private property, and it's somewhere where you don't have to go, then what the hell has that got to do with you anyway? "

    if someone wants to allow cocaine taking on their private property, and it's somewhere where you don't have to go, then what the hell has that got to do with you anyway? Find somewhere else, if you don't like it

    if someone wants to allow bear baiting on their private property and it's somewhere where you don't have to go, then what the hell has that got to do with you anyway? Find somewhere else, if you don't like it.

    if someone wants to completely ignore health and safety law and it's somewhere where you don't have to go, then what the hell has that got to do with you anyway? Find somewhere else, if you don't like it. AND get a job somewhere else, why should the law protect the workers from the bosses. If the bosses want to cut costs and let the workers get hurt, more power to them.

    Just which part of that do you find so objectionable?

    As for ventilation, who would pay for that? Would a landlord put in a £60k system? The ban was on the cards for a long time, landlords did nothing, and now its bitten them on the arse.

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  107. Law
    Happy

    RE: @ law @Andus McCoatover

    You sir, have bought a little ray of hope back into my life... just nobody tell the wife! ;)

  108. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @ sarah

    It's not that you're 'wrong'. You're just irritating. As far as I'm concerned you can do what you like without censure around me, including smoking, but as soon as that cloud hits my eyes or nose I will not be inclined to be your pal. I may indicate this by scowling at you. It should be fairly easy to work out why. How hard is it to just take that kind of criticism on the chin? You've got a silly and selfish habit that bothers people, you're going to have to roll with the punches.

  109. al
    Paris Hilton

    Re: RE: @ law @Andus McCoatover

    Pleasure is all mine.

    > You sir, have bought a little ray of hope back into my life... just nobody tell the wife! ;)

    Let me warn you, sir: SB is no "little" ray, if you get my drift. You may live a tad longer with old ball and chain, me thinks.

    Paris. coz she smokes. Bananas.

  110. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: RE: @ law @Andus McCoatover

    Er... at what point should I be breaking this up?

  111. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  112. al
    Coat

    Re: RE: @ law @Andus McCoatover

    by "this" do you mean - Law's marital bliss ? Go right ahead - he doesn't seem to mind. ;-)

    ta-ta.

  113. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: RE: @ law @Andus McCoatover

    No, this discussion. I think all involved should go and have a bacon sandwich forthwith.

  114. A J Stiles
    Stop

    @ AC 12:05

    "if someone wants to allow cocaine taking on their private property, and it's somewhere where you don't have to go, then what the hell has that got to do with you anyway? Find somewhere else, if you don't like it"

    Fine by me. Cocaine taking doesn't directly affect anybody else but the taker. (Certain regrettable practices necessitated by prohibition can create problems for those involved in the supply chain, but judging by the existence of other supply chains for legal products, those problems simply would not exist in the absence of prohibition. Let us assume for the sake of a fair comparison that any cocaine being consumed in those premises was produced without the exploitation of vulnerable people and that the customers were paying for it with their own money earned by legal means.) I prefer a pocket full of coins over a nose full of powder, and I can talk bollocks to complete strangers all night without chemical assistance.

    "if someone wants to allow bear baiting on their private property and it's somewhere where you don't have to go, then what the hell has that got to do with you anyway? Find somewhere else, if you don't like it."

    Indeed -- let them. They probably won't get many customers going along wanting to watch bear-baiting anyway. (Well, maybe once for morbid curiosity.) Beside which, the bears will get their own back sooner or later, and once that gets in the news they'll have a problem getting staff.

    (Incidentally, smoking vs. bear-baiting isn't really a fair comparison either. Last I checked, cigarettes weren't sentient beings capable of objecting to being smoked the way bears are sentient beings capable of objecting to being baited. Or maybe you were drawing an analogy between people being smoked near to and bears being baited; but again, last I checked, bears didn't have a choice whether or not to be baited to the same extent that non-smokers had a choice whether or not to go into a place knowing full well that smoking was permitted there.)

    "if someone wants to completely ignore health and safety law and it's somewhere where you don't have to go, then what the hell has that got to do with you anyway? Find somewhere else, if you don't like it."

    Precisely. What other consenting adults do if it's not affecting me is none of my business. Their staff are grown-ups. They CHOSE to work there -- I can CHOOSE to stay away.

    "AND get a job somewhere else, why should the law protect the workers from the bosses. If the bosses want to cut costs and let the workers get hurt, more power to them."

    If I chose a job where I knew in advance that I would be putting my life on the line just by turning up for work, whatever happened next would be *my* fault. If I wasn't getting some sort of benefit out of it -- an adrenalin rush unavailable anywhere else, or just a seriously huge pay packet, for instance -- then you wouldn't see me for dust.

    Let me remind you again: Before the government unnecessarily banned smoking in all pubs, there was NOTHING to stop you from choosing a non-smoking pub to patronise. If you nonetheless CHOSE to drink in a pub knowing full well that other people there were allowed to smoke, then that was nobody's fault but YOURS. Now, kindly stop blaming other people for your own shortcomings.

    In the meantime, I will leave you with this thought: There's almost certainly something that you enjoy doing, and yet the very thought of which horrifies someone somewhere to the point that they would like to prevent anyone from ever doing it if they ever attained a position of power.

  115. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @ AC 12:05

    1) Bear-baiting is nasty for the bears. I don't care what the people want.

    2) It is funny that this has become about smoking and the rights thereunto when it started off being about pubs, isn't it?

  116. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Styles

    "if someone wants to completely ignore health and safety law and it's somewhere where you don't have to go, then what the hell has that got to do with you anyway? Find somewhere else, if you don't like it."

    Precisely. What other consenting adults do if it's not affecting me is none of my business. Their staff are grown-ups. They CHOSE to work there -- I can CHOOSE to stay away.

    Not everyone has a choice. Most people work because they need to pay bills, not because they choose to.

    So if all the IT employers started requiring their staff to lift 80KG UPSes on their own, its OK? And when said staff injure themselves and are off work, its also ok not to pay them?

    Thats the attitude of an HP/IBM director or a douche.

  117. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @ Sarah

    "It is funny that this has become about smoking and the rights thereunto when it started off being about pubs, isn't it?"

    Wow Sarah you're nearly up to speed!

    Article IS about pubs :)

    Article is about pubs CLOSING :(

    Article ask WHY are pubs closing? :o

    The smoking ban is the main reason pubs are closing, but the article didn't really go there, did it?. No one does. It's so obviously the reason. What a lot of bullshit to pretend that it's an irrelevent factor.

    I also think it's fucking bullshit that these laws passed by the media without a murmer of dissent, like so many things these days. Useless Journos. What a mess.

    You know, in some bars and restaurants in Amsterdam now, they let you smoke a joint at the table. But even in the coffeeshops the barman goes outside for a marlboro.

  118. Law
    Paris Hilton

    RE: @ Sarah

    "The smoking ban is the main reason pubs are closing, but the article didn't really go there, did it?. No one does. It's so obviously the reason. What a lot of bullshit to pretend that it's an irrelevent factor."

    <flame_bait_comment_for_fun>

    It isn't the smoking ban killing pubs, infact I'd say it wasn't going far enough - pubs are closing down because of the misery of smokers not being able to do what they took for granted for years!! All that negative energy and frustration, fury even, is bringing the industry down, so pubs are closing... they should ban smokers, not just the smoking itself, it's for the greater good, they really don't seem to be handling what non-smokers have had to put up with for decades - an area for socialising where other people's preference seems to be annoying others.

    </flame_bait_commen_for_funt>

    <actual_view>

    Smoking ban isn't killing off pubs half as much as the credit crunch is... to think it's smoking ban is the main reason for it all is a little silly... high pub lease prices, pub mortgages based on earnings prior to credit crunch, and the gradual slowing down of business as people stop going out every week and instead do every other week are the real killers here.

    If the government want to help local pubs, make it harder for large breweries from buying up local pubs and leasing them to people who don't give a crap over private buyers who see it as their livelyhood and care, reduce the tax for licensed restaurants and pubs, and cap the amount of markup they can make on these things (I'm betting some failing pubs will keep prices the same and pocket the rest in a bid to get a cash boost, ignoring what it was for in the first place!)... and leave current tax etc the same for supermarkets rather than increasing it... we should be trying to help the country get through the recession, not making the little things people do enjoy more expensive... we arn't all boozed up scallies smashing up bus shelters on the way home, some just enjoy a wine or a beer with their meal, or a quick unwind pint in pub with friends, or to take some home and have a beer with the bbq over summer...

    </actual_view>

  119. Luther Blissett

    An indisputable fact

    What we are not seeing is sanctimonious non-smokers making up the numbers in pubs after the smokers have thrown in the towel.

    Of course that could have been predicted from Zanu labour's strategic objective of redefining the meaning of "community" as something that exists on the ground, rather than as a general abstraction (i.e. "state") or in a hyperreal sense (e.g. let's show how much we care about communities by naming a department after them).

    Democracy is never a reason for the majority to oppress a minority (or vice versa, in this hyperreal age). That's just another case of the technological imperative running away with itself.

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