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« Cornucopians unite! | Main | What was the first record you bought? »

Smoking ban: New Labour in denial

New Labour's favourite think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), has today published a report entitled Pubs and Places: the social value of community pubs.

Supported by the likes of CAMRA and Alcohol Concern, the report found that the main factors contributing to the rise in pub closures include:

  • Competition from shops and supermarkets where alcohol is much cheaper, which has led to more people drinking at home
  • The current recession which has reduced pub incomes
  • Increases in tax on beer
  • The prices that some pub tenants have to pay the large pub companies for their beer
  • A fall in beer drinking and a growth in wine drinking
  • Increased regulation which small community pubs find the hardest to deal with

To prevent further pub closures, the IPPR calls for business rate relief, eligibility for third sector finance, reform of planning law (to provide greater protection for community pubs), and a change in the relationship between large pubcos and their tenants.

Other recommendations include no further increases in beer duty and a minimum price per unit of alcohol to prevent irresponsible promotions and close the gap between the on and the off trades.

I've only read the advance blurb but I can't find a single reference to the smoking ban. It's as if it never happened.

The report also calls on pubs to "diversify" to keep up with consumer tastes and demand. Er, thanks for that advice.

Here's an idea that would allow them to diversify to keep up with consumer tastes and demand. How about amending the law so that a percentage of well-ventilated pubs are allowed to cater for those who wish to smoke indoors alongside their tolerant, non-smoking friends?

Not interested? You surprise me.

Reader Comments (26)

Simon I hope you are well. I have a full copy and will be reading it in depth this everning. However I am not sure what I can quote. The smoking ban is mentioned and I guess I can quote from one of their sources Mintel, This is what it said on smoking closures and pubs. Methinks another Labour spin exercise.

"January 2008

Smoking Ban: British business feels the heat
Just over six months on from the introduction of the smoking ban, latest research from MINTEL finds that the ban can claim some success amongst smokers. But the likes of British bingo and the good old drinking man's pub could now be seriously under threat...

MINTEL's exclusive consumer research shows that as far as the government’s plans to reduce smoking rates are concerned, the ban has things moving in the right direction. Indeed, one in three (33%) regular smokers now smoke less when they are out. But despite this, one in five (22%) smokers feel that the ban has disrupted their socialising and 16%, or some 2 million adults, say that they are now actually going out less."

March 31, 2009 at 13:51 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

I am not surprised that 1 in 3 smokers smoke less when they go out because they could not be arsed standing out in the rain and cold. This does not mean that they are giving up.

I also see that 2 million smoking adults are going out less. Add to this the number of non smokers not going out because their friends or partners do not and the figure must surely increase substantially. When this number of people change their social habits it impacts not only on the local pub. Taxi firms, hot food takeaways, hairdressers, babysitters etc see their incomes drop which worsens the situation and the economy spirals downward.

As the pubs' income drops they are obliged to stop booking bands, quizzes, karaoake etc and cut hours or make staff redundant. The reduced atmosphere in pubs drives away those who stayed after the ban and eventually the pub closes for good. This is not rocket science but like the emperor's new clothes no one wants to admit it.

Finally, the state must be losing a fortune as a result of decreased VAT, PAYE, corporation tax and the increase in unemployment. I believe the damage is irreversible and an amendment to the ban while welcome would be too little too late. Many smokers have got used to being at home or friend's houses and given that the publicans did nothing for us would be loathe to go back to paying over £3 for a pint to keep them in business.

March 31, 2009 at 14:25 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Peoples

Yes I have only been to a pub twice since Jul 2007 and I have no intention of going again untill the ban is amended.
Im not the only one im sure.

March 31, 2009 at 14:26 | Unregistered CommenterMcgraw

I used to go to my local pub every day for a quiet pint and a smoke. That stopped on 1 July 2007, and I only go there now when it's warm and sunny to sit outside. I haven't had a single drink inside it since the ban.

I believe the damage is irreversible and an amendment to the ban while welcome would be too little too late. - Michael Peoples

I think most people would heave a sigh of relief to go back to the way things were. I used to think the ban should be amended, but now I want to see it repealed. There is simply no justification for any ban. There is no medical justification because environmental tobacco smoke poses no significant health risk. This is what most of the studies show. Once that is disposed of, the only reason for a ban is that Nazi doctors want to make people stop smoking, and it's none of their business to tell people how to live their lives. Or it's because some people hate the smell of tobacco smoke, in which case the solution is to allow those people to have their own "smoke-free" (and maybe alcohol-free and music-free and peanut-free) pubs they can go to, and to allow smokers and drinkers places they can go, and stop trying to force one-size-fits-all solutions onto everyone.

March 31, 2009 at 16:16 | Unregistered Commenteridlex

You might remember, Dave, that at the IPPR meeting on pub closures, mention of the smoking ban having any effect was ignored and dismissed. They didn't want to accept it because , in their words, talking about the smoking ban was a step backwards.

March 31, 2009 at 16:40 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Indeed Pat, I remember the Oxbridge educated co-author person rolling their eyes with a slightly venomous look as the words "smoking ban" tripped off my tomgue.

March 31, 2009 at 16:57 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Received letter from Dawn Primarolo in which she says 'The Department has seen no signiicant evidence to date that implies that smokefree legislation, either in this country or in others where it has been in place for some years, will create any long-term economic problems for pubs or the hospitality trade in general'

March 31, 2009 at 18:12 | Unregistered Commenterchas

Dave - "It was like farting in a lift," were the words you used, if I recall correctly!

March 31, 2009 at 19:51 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Ronald Reagan once stated, 'Politics is the second oldest profession but is closely related to the first.' This is amended as follows. 'Medical resources is the third oldest profession and is closely related to the first two.
One thing we all notice, I believe, is that researchers conveniently misses out anything that may affect their own lifestyles.

March 31, 2009 at 20:03 | Unregistered CommenterAlun_C

Slight change of subject folks.Anybody want a weekend away where you can smoke ? Well try my place its got everthing. Operational in summer.
More details by request please.
Ps Its my pet project.

April 1, 2009 at 9:27 | Unregistered CommenterPeter James

Just goes to show how stupid this new labour party is, cheap alcohol sold in supermarkets, tax increases, recessions and all the other excuses the Labour party have come up with, have been happening for years but pubs and clubs was still around and not closing at such a rate, the only new law forced on them is the smoking ban and the Labour party is still saying this unjust law have nothing to do with the closures of pubs and clubs, how dum can a person be.

April 1, 2009 at 17:25 | Unregistered Commenterclif everiste

Oh, it's classic nulabor.

Create an illusory "problem", piss away public money on the "solution" which, in turn, creates twenty new problems. Repeat process until all the money's gone then bugger off to Brussels, where they can't be voted out by the plebs.

April 1, 2009 at 19:50 | Unregistered CommenterBasil Brown

Might be interested, Peter. Whereabouts is your haven?

April 1, 2009 at 19:53 | Unregistered CommenterBasil Brown



Try OL14 7UR


April 2, 2009 at 7:23 | Unregistered CommenterPeter James

Cheers Peter. I expect this poor chap may also be interested.

Will you advertise on F2C when it's ready?

April 2, 2009 at 18:30 | Unregistered CommenterBasil Brown

I am a smoker, my husband is not. It is my birthday today. He asked me if I would like to go out for a drink. I declined as we would sit outside for half an hour and then he would want to go inside. To me, going to a pub is now an uncomfortable experience. I am female and don't like going outside on my own. My husband only likes to drink in real ale pubs which mostly where I live (Brighton) do not cater for smokers. Sadly, his fondness for real ale and my fondness for smoking with a few drinks has led to a few (quite a lot) bad atmospheres.
He does not understand that to me,(and a few smokers I would think), that every time I go to a pub now, The "No Smoking" signs say to me "No Smokers". I am reminded everywhere I go that I am personae non grata. I only like to mix with smokers now because they feel the same as me.
My husband and I married in 1977, and have always enjoyed a good social life, but this ban is killing our marriage.

April 2, 2009 at 21:21 | Unregistered CommenterAstor

We smokers are partly to blame we should of carried on smoking and ignored the ban like the hunting ban has been ignored .I hope this letter is opened all across the world and people carry on smoking in their own country. They want to control us and we are letting them so smoke and sod them.

April 3, 2009 at 0:02 | Unregistered Commenterpat

I'm not in employment now, but I designed heating and ventilation systems. The architects always wanted linear grilles along the ceiling of the bar. Because of the aesthetic effect. Thus drawing all the smoke, and smells, toward the bar and its staff. My idea, was a room set apart, with a large grille for extraction, where smokers could drink and enjoy themselves. I go to a pub once a month, for the music. I go outside for a smoke. So do the musicians. I've come to the conclusion that we are slowly becoming something of a 'police state' where our lives are being controlled by government. When I was a kid, pipesmoke was described as being 'rich and fruity'. Now the media calls it a 'stink'. Insidious brainwashing? I've no intention of giving up. Mr Orwell, you almost got it right.

April 3, 2009 at 12:17 | Unregistered CommenterDogenddick

I Too Am Totally Fed up With This Bunch Of Hypocrites "Running" ( And I Use That Term Lightly) This Once Nice To Live In Country. I've Been Out to a Pub Once Since New Year's Eve (For a Funeral) My Wife And I Now Enjoy Friends company At Weekends,And The Atmosphere Is Brilliant, Just Like It Used to Be Before We Were Told a Bunch Of LIES By BB .We Are Off To Live In Turkey As Soon as The House is Sold (Yes I Know That "The Ban" Comes In In July) , But I'm hoping That The turks Will Stick 2 Fingers Up to It Like They Have Done In The Past. (I Tried ,But The Rest Of Our "Friends" Were Like Sheep).Including The Breweries, Who Thought That "Hey Now We'll get All The Non Smokers In And Make Shedloads Of money". Well Now That The Breweries Are Realising The Pubs are empty (our Used To Be Local Is) I'm Soooooo F*****g Happy, They Could have Done Something Before All this Crap , Well Now It's Too late( For England anyway , Glad I'm getting out

April 3, 2009 at 22:56 | Unregistered CommenterTurkeyboy

I'm in a similar situation to you. My hubbie is an ex-smoker. He gave up 12 years ago though, well before all the hysteria.
Luckily, he understands my plight and sympathises. He's had a lot to put up with and it has affected our social life to a huge extent.
The one main impact was that he gave up his snooker nights (I enjoyed my evening of bath-time pampering alone). He was the first to walk out after the ban (he didn't smoke) because he couldn't cope with the breaks in play whilst everyone had to go outside.
His club has now gone under - Riley's. He stopped going within weeks of the ban.

April 3, 2009 at 23:26 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

My husband, a tolerant non smoker, goes out with his mates on Friday nights for drinks around a local village. A habit he's had for years. There used to be 8 decent pubs in the village, all of whom used to be really busy.Now there's 5 still open, but only 3 of them are still bustling like a local should - all 3 have brilliant outdoor smoking facilities with seating, heating, lighting and ashtrays. The remaining two are apparently like graveyards even though they're both real ale pubs,and used to be very popular. Their smoking facilities involve standing up a wall in the car park. Both have tried all sorts of ways to bring the folks in - quiz nights, live bands, themed nights, but they're still going down the pan - speaks for itself that the problem is not down to the managers not reaching out to their public, but wholly down to where their public can and cant smoke.

April 4, 2009 at 0:11 | Unregistered CommenterCaggi

Basil or D A or anyboby have the address please of that poor fellow Clive and His wife Lydia?


April 4, 2009 at 10:13 | Unregistered CommenterPeter James

Click Liverpool have a fund set up to pay Cyril's Ramada Hotels "fine". I'm sure they'll also convey messages.

April 6, 2009 at 2:17 | Unregistered CommenterBasil Brown

I live in Norwich famed for 365 pubs a few years back now around 120 and still going down. I and most of my mates used to meet up everyday after work for couple of pints.Thatis all over now all down to the smoking ban.The old pensioners quite a few who fought for this country used to meet up and get some free heat in the winter months and enjoy a smoke and the company now very rarely seen at all are they ok who knows people would allways notice if a regular was missing they fought for freedom of choice the goverment should stop interfering in our choices WHILST ALLOWING CHEAP BOOZE AND SMOKING IN THEIR HOUSE OF COMMONS BARS A BLOODY CHEEK OK FOR THEM BUT NOT US THE VOTER

April 6, 2009 at 9:10 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Rooney

My wife and (2) used to go out every Sat night for a few beers and a chat with my son and his wife(2), daughter and boyfriend (2) and more often than not a couple of mates(2), Now there round at mine, in the conservatory, where we drink our cheaper beer & wine, and smoke inside or out as we wish...

Now that 8 customers lost in one go, and how many times is that being repeated up and down our land?

April 6, 2009 at 17:15 | Unregistered CommenterMikey

I've said it before and I'll say it again,worse than the SBE is the denial of it!
In the media it's getting worse.
More stories of the poor pubs,not a mention of the barred 12 million customers!

April 6, 2009 at 23:37 | Unregistered Commentermayfair

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