LABOUR’S parliamentary candidate for Burton has called on MP Andrew Griffiths to join him in backing a campaign which is looking to secure reform of the big pub companies.
However, Mr Griffiths has hit back at Jon Wheale’s support for the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA’s) Fair Deal for Your Local campaign.
The Tory MP said Mr Wheale’s demands would risk ‘hundreds of jobs’ in the Burton pub industry.
Mr Wheale (pictured, left), a member of Burton and South Derbyshire branch of CAMRA, told the Mail: “I want to see all parts of the industry doing well, jobs created and well-paid.
“So I am joining CAMRA in saying that this is the definitive year for the Government to listen to those of us who care about the future of Britain’s pubs.
“This campaign is all about ensuring licensees tied to big pub companies can make a fair living – this is vital as our recent research has shown that a shocking 57 per cent of licensees tied to the big pub companies earn less than £10,000 a year.
“So far 170 MPs have signed up to back the campaign, but Andrew Griffiths hasn’t signed up yet.
“With pubs closing at a rate of 26 a week, we need every MPs support. So I call on Andrew Griffiths to join me in supporting reform and backing pubs”.
However, though Mr Griffiths (pictured, right) accepted the time may have come to introduce a statutory code, he said the ‘free of tie’ option would be harmful to Burton’s brewing industry.
He said: “Mr Wheale’s demand for a free of tie option would risk hundreds of jobs at Burton companies like Punch Taverns and Marston’s.
“I do find it astonishing that someone who wants to represent this brewing town is prepared to sacrifice those jobs, and that he hasn’t even bothered to meet and discuss these issues with important these Burton employers.
“It does seem as though Mr Wheale is more concerned with playing politics than protecting vital jobs in Burton.”