YESTERDAY was the General Election and the various parties put forward their manifestos on how they would run the country if elected.

The local members of CAMRA decided to remind the successful candidates of their manifesto to support local pubs, clubs and breweries.

Beer, brewing and pubs support nearly 900,000 jobs in the UK, and contribute £23.1 billion to the UK economy annually.

Pubs are a uniquely British institution which showcase our nation’s brewing tradition and also provide essential community facilities for those that use them.

Research from Oxford University found that people who regularly use a local pub have more friends, are happier and more trusting of others, and feel more engaged with their communities.

Here in Keighley we are fortunate to have five breweries: Timothy Taylors, Goose Eye, Naylor’s, Bridgehouse and Wishbone, and over 170 active pubs and clubs selling real ale.

They obviously employ quite a large proportion of the local populace, and provide social enjoyment and community support for many more.

CAMRA nationally asked General Election candidates to pledge their support for Britain’s pub goers and beer drinkers by committing to do the following if elected:

• Beer: Celebrate and promote Britain’s 1,540 breweries

• Pubs: Support action to help pubs thrive

• Consumers: Represent the interests of pub goers, beer and cider drinkers.

Pubs face a huge tax burden, including VAT, excise duties, business rates, corporation tax and other pub-specific regulatory costs.

In total £9.7bn in taxes are paid across the beer and pubs sector per year. Tax makes up around one third of the cost of a pint sold in a pub. Pubs pay 2.8 per cent of the total amount paid in business rates, but account for only 0.5 per cent of total business turnover.

The Pubs Business Rate Relief Scheme in England goes some way to alleviating the business rates burden on pubs. The Pubs Relief Scheme should be made permanent and extended to £5,000 per pub per year.

Good public transport links - another policy commitment for many parties - has the potential to contribute to the ongoing sustainability of our more rural pubs.

Britain’s expected departure from the EU will present opportunities for the UK Government to re-balance the tax differential between the on-trade and the off-trade, and demonstrate support for the vast majority of consumers who drink responsibly and in social environments.

• Consideration should be given to introducing a more favourable rate of VAT for on-trade alcohol and food service which will ease the tax burden specifically for on-trade licensed venues.

• A lower rate of duty for draught beer sold in pubs should be introduced to alleviate disproportionate taxation and recognise the social benefits of alcohol being consumed in regulated, social environments.

Kris Hopkins, Keighley’s Conservative election candidate, was in the past community pubs minister, and we urged him and the other candidates to sign up and pledge their support by visiting

We would like to thank John Grogen (Labour) and Ros Brown (Green) for the joining nearly 500 other UK candidates in supporting the cause.