Local pubs and small producers are Green order of the day

For immediate release 29 April 2011

Campaigning in Paisley today, the co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party Patrick Harvie set out positive proposals aimed at stimulating the development of local pubs and craft brewers whose bottom line is the production of quality drinks and serving local communities in a responsible way.

In the last Parliament, the Scottish Green Party endorsed proposals from the Scottish Government for a minimum price for alcohol.

Speaking ahead of attending the 24th Paisley Beer Festival at Paisley Town Hall, Patrick Harvie said:

"Politicians certainly like sounding tough on booze culture, but that doesn't offer the solution we need. Scotland does have a problem, but we think the solution lies in small businesses taking back some control. Producers and retailers who profit from volume sales of poor quality drinks have dominated the market, and government after government lets them help to write alcohol policy. Some have even received government grants which our small businesses could only dream of.

"However, local pubs and craft brewers, whose interest lies in quality not quantity, have a great contribution to make to our communities, our economy and to a better relationship with alcohol. We don't need to let the multinationals and the big chains keep the upper hand. It's time to celebrate the alcohol culture we should have, and return the industry to a healthy state.

"We should be keeping the pub economy rooted in communities, and this can be achieved by simplifying licensing regulation for independent pubs but not branches of big chains. Business support should be redirected toward the small producers, those who make their profits from quality not quantity. And we should be giving local pubs that are closing a chance to remain pubs, and that means closing the planning loophole that lets big chains sell off pubs while preventing their continued use as pubs.

"The ongoing success and popularity of the Paisley Beer Festival, now in its 24th year, really proves the point that there is huge appetite for non-conveyor belt beer. I look forward to raising a glass tonight with many familiar faces in a great community venue."