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Lewis Brandon 2Brandon Lewis is Member of Parliament for Great Yarmouth, Minister for Local Government, Fire & Rescue and Community Pubs.  Follow Brandon on Twitter
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My new
year's resolution is to make the Great British pub the hub of a resurgent
economy.

Like most
small businesses, life for the local hasn't been easy in recent times. Some have
been forced to close down, others have been hit hard by rowdy rabble rowsers. 

But
against the odds the great British pub is bouncing back. The
industry predicts there will be 13,000 new jobs behind the bar in the new year.

A modern
local is still a place to grab a swift half after work. Still the place to
watch the match. Still the life and soul of the party. Or the ideal place to
grab a morning coffee break, with over 3 million cups of coffee sold in a year.


But it's
also a high end eatery, serving up a billion meals of glorious pub grub every
year.

So I
think it's high time we paid tribute to the folk behind the bar down the Jolly
Farmers, Dog and Duck, the Ship and Anchor, the Queen Vic and the Rovers
Return. What
makes these spirited entrepreneurs (…probably) the best in the
world is that they understand the first law of business: to pull
the punters in, put the customer first.

And their
heady cocktail of innovation and ingenuity is firing up our economy. Adding £19 billion to the country's coffers. Creating
almost a million jobs, with almost 50% of employees under the age of 25.

Our proud
publicans are the best of British. And to
help them brew success, support is on tap.

We're
doubling business rate relief – so small firms like local pubs benefit from up
to 100 per cent discounts.

We've put
council tax revaluation on the back burner – which could have left local pubs
out of pocket. We have put money into a great organisation called Pub is the
Hub, helping community pubs diversify.

We've
canned the last government’s cider tax.

And we've
even cut red tape – making it easier for publicans to play live music and
entice a new crowd through the doors.

What's
more, locals no longer need suffer in silence while if their local pub faces
closure. Our right
to bid gives them a fighting chance to save it for posterity and community
ownership is already growing.

So three
cheers for the Great British pub. 2013 is
set to be a Stella year — and the
success of our pubs could be just the tonic to revive our nation's fortunes.

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