13/08/2013 Newsnight


Why are we pumping up a new housing bubble? Israel and Palestine. The lost art of letter writing. The strange death of the British pub. With Jeremy Paxman.

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wealthier. It's not that we've done anything much. No brilliant idea, no


productive overtime. It's just that some title deeds are worth more now


than they were a year ago. Nice if you own your own home.


So long boys. It's like that Disney cartoon with


housing rising ever higher, supposedly taking our spirits with


it. Of course you have to be old enough or lucky enough to own


property. Is this any way to run an economy?


This sight is something plenty of Israelis don't like - Palestinian


prisoners being freed to help along negotiations. Is there any sensible


prospect of settlement talks achieving anything?


America insists the two sides can do it, but to some even the idea of a


two state solution now seems far-fetched.


Who writes letters nowadays? Der Mr President, first I would like to


introduce myself, I'm Elvis press rid and -- Presley.


Has the tyranny of the kilobyte killed letter writing. A poet and a


tweeter cross pen and stylus. And publicans across the country are


calling last orders and closing down their pubs. Is drinking beer now an


Britain is becoming even more expensive than it already is. This


is held to be a sign that the economy is shuffling out of the


intensive care ward. House prices are rising at their fastest pace in


seven years. The Government has proclaimed its commitment to


boosting the cost of property, despite the advice that they're


playing with fire, by stoking up a potential property bubble. Before we


talk, Sancha Berg has been out in a spring in their step. House prices


rose most in London, but next is the West Midlands. After years of a


sluggish housing market, here in Coventry, agents are busy again.


Well, I would say there is a increase and interest probably from


the beginning of 2013. It started to move from then, but most especially


in the last couple of months. And very much geared on first time


buyer market to the release of the Government incentive scheme which


was April 2013. So it has moved from there.


This new house is on sale at �125,000. That's affordable for many


Coventry couples. Max told me the average salary for first-time buyers


is about �25,000. And he is found lenders can be more generous if


people are helped by the Government to buy. With the Government scheme,


the Government will give you a loan up to 20% and you only have to find


5%. And with those parameters, the building societies are taking a it a


little bit easier. They are less tough. So you will get an easier


ride if you are on the Government scheme? Definitely.Around the


corner, a bigger new estate with almost all the houses sold. I spoke


to one couple in their 20s who just arrived. I moved in at the end of


June. And it is your first house? Yes and


we used the help to buy scheme. that make the difference for you?


Yes, it is like a 5% deposit down and the Government covered 20% of


the value of the property. Tell us about the house? It is a


three bed. It has a kitchen and down stair toilet, lounge and all we


could ask for. Dwo double bedrooms as well.


A garden so it is perfect for us and especially if marriage comes along


and children. Yeah, we are not going to need to


move for a long time. He is a teacher, she works in a


bank. In London, their peers couldn't afford a house like this.


Even with Government help. House prices in London slumped in 2009


ever since they have been rising. In the West Midlands and other regions


they didn't increase so fast. So the affordability gap between the


capital and other areas has widened. In 2005 you needed he nearly seven


times the average salary to buy a house in London. Nearly six times


the average salary for the UK as a whole. Over the years, that


difference has grown. Now, you need eight times the average salary for a


London home just over five times the average salary for the UK as a


whole. The Government scheme has allowed families to buy new houses


like these. But generally across the country, a number of new housing


starts remains low. So according to the laws of supply and demand, as


long as the number of new homes remains relatively small, the price


of housing is likely to keep rising. Many believe the Government scheme


is supporting an unsustainable housing bubble. It is really about


looking at the underlying issues here and there isn't a single


economist that I have spoken to who thinks that the Government's current


scheme help to buy is a good idea. Basically, what they are doing is,


it is printing money for banks so they can lend more to keep house


prices high rather than actually creating more capital which ie


building more homes. Next year, the help to buy scheme is


to be extended. What that will mean, looks very different from London and


from Coventry. As the rules are lifted, the


restrictions are lifted and everyone gets in on this tax payer funded


bonanza and then again, house prices will rise and a lot more people will


be left behind. We will have house price increases,


but we will have a steady growth which is good for everyone because


house prices in this area are very, very affordable. As you will see


from this house. So is the Government in danger of


blowing bubbles? Ed Howker is a journalist and co-author of Jilted


Generation. Gillian Tett is Assistant Editor at the Financial


Times and from the Home Builders' Federation, John Stewart. Do you


think this is something we should be celebrating? Absolutely not. I think


help to buy is stupid because in the medium-term to long-term we will


find ourselves in a situation where people will not be able to afford


houses unless they get into incredible amounts of debt. Debt


which previous generations could not imagine and didn't have to get into


when they bought houses. You are pleased because the


Chancellor is making your job easier for you Yes, we are. Help to buy and


helpfully has two different parts. The first part which is operating


now is helping boost new home production. There is no doubt about


that. The second part, the mortgage guarantee scheme doesn't kick in


until next year and that is the one that caused the angst.


And when that kicks in next year, Gillian? There are two parts of the


scheme. What the Government is trying to do with help to buy is


like putting a fire lighter on a damp, summer barbecue and they are


hoping you will get a blaze and that will get everyone feeling more


positive and most importantly, get more home builders building more


homes. It is helping sentiment. It is like having the Royal baby and


Andy Murray winning Wimbledon. Suddenly everyone feels better and


that's good for the economy, but the missing piece is whether we are


going to get more homes coming through to help meet the supply


issue as well. Is there any prospect realistically


and does any of you think there is a realistic prospect of houses coming


more into line with people's earnings? Well, the real issue is


you need to get demand and supply in balance and you have had tremendous


under investment now for the best part of two decades in the housing


stock and that's what needs to be addressed. We need to get more home


builders building homes. Gillian is right. With a problem that built up


20 years, it will take 20 years to solve it. There is no way we can


solve it in 18 months. You have had 25 years where you as


private developsers had control over the UK housing stock. Year after


year you have failed to build the required amount of houses. Now, at


the moment, you say that's because you can't get the lending or there


is insufficient demand, but what are your ex-excuses going back over 25


years? You can't solve this problem on your own and you know this.


It has been a mortgage issue. But going back 20 years, we are talking


about the planning system. We have a system where the amount of land


available for house building is rationed by the planning system. We


have a plan-led system and that was introduced in 1991.


This is the argument about building over the green belt, is it? No. We


need a small increase in terms of the housing stock in numbers and


that would entail brown field, eight out of ten homes are built on brown


field land and a little bit of green field.


When you look at that tape and you look at what's going on in Coventry


and London, it doesn't make sense to have a national policy, does it?


Things are so seriously out of kilter. You can't see how one, the


same policy can have a desirable effect in both places? Well, the key


question is whether boosting demand will be enough to get the industry


producing more homes where they are needed and the problem has been a


time lag effect that home builders say we want to see evidence of


demand before we build, but it takes a long time to get homes coming


through and so by the time you get demand, you get a bubble and the


bubble starts to burst. It is the classic stop, start pattern within


the UK economy. Is the Government going to respond with more sticking


plaster sclutions -- solutions or will they address the questions


about why we don't have enough homes? Are you can have the dent you


are not participating in the inflation of a bubble?


Government's figures come out on Thursday which is unhelpful tonight,


but there are a lot of indicators which suggest that house builders


are gearing up. The figures from the Government today, they sold 10,000


new homes in the first four months of the scheme. They only build


100,000 a year so you can see the scale is enormous.


How many homes do you need a year to address a gap? It is 300,000.


It is 100,000 this year. That's going to take 20 years.


Which is more than twice what you are building. You you have had 25


years and it hasn't happened. If the Government wants to have a long-term


solution to the problem of housing, we need to push all the leavers that


will create production of houses. That's the fundamental and vital


point and that means social housing, it can mean private sector build to


he let and another point which makes this more difficult for the next


generation who are trying to get on the housing ladder and pay the


mortgages and find a way of raising the capital. In the last 10 or 15


years, there has been a massive introduction of speculation and


buy-to-let has been driving the increase in homes and the value of


homes. This is a massive problem because there is a new entrant which


makes it more difficult for young people to get into the housing


market. Let's put that question of justice


to one side and ask a bigger question which is or another


question which is this any sensible way to run an economy? Relying upon


this sort of stimulus coming from housing? Well, an economy where the


only thing that makes people feel good is rising house prices is not a


good way to run an economy. I think Britain needs to get away from its


obsession with owning houses and an obsession of house prices as the


basis of wealth. You are seeing a rising split between the older


generation and the younger generation that does not.


The solution is to build more homes. More than double for a sustained


period, 15, 20 years and only then will we see the problem solved. It


took us 20 years to get where we are today and it will take us 20 years


to get out of it. 20 years is longer than the election


cycle. In the meantime, you have a


situation where people are priced out of the areas where there are


jobs. By 2020, 40% of those under 30 will be living with their parents.


One of my favourite stats from the data today if you knock out London


and the South East, the actual house price growth is nearer to 1%. London


has seen 8% rises and that's a stark discrepancy between London which is


about international money and the rest of the country. OK, there are a


lot of rich people who find London an easy place to come. International


rich people who find London an easy place to move to, to buy property


in, to generally make life difficult for anyone who wants to get on


locally. Let's take that as read. If the effect is only 1% only 1%


increase in value across the country, it argues, does it not


that, that policy is not being effective? In terms of not getting


enough of the bubble, enough of the increase.


The bubble is too small. The policy is whether the policy is to make us


feel good or to get more people in housing. Yes, rising house prices


and nice front newspaper stories boost sentiment, but it doesn't


really address the fundamental question about how do you get more


people in descent houses? You have got two look the at the two schemes.


You wouldn't expect that to have a significant impact on new house


prices, house prices across the piece. The scheme that comes in in


January will be for all housing, new and second-hand and across the whole


of the UK. You are judging today for a scheme which has not started yet.


Is it worth going ahead with the second part of this scheme? It is


like a nationalised version of sub-prime, isn't it? It is no the a


brilliant long-term strategy. and Freddie and has been something


of a disaster in terms of wasting money and distorting incentre tifrs,


the idea the UK would be picking up that same scheme is bonkers. If you


want to use Government policy, use it on the supply end of the


equation, not the demand end. I don't think it is sub-prime. The


lenders are under strict rules after the mortgage market review to not


lend to what we would have classified sub-prime.


People will be able to buy with a 5% deposit, but they will be assessed


by the lenders for affordability. It is not sub-prime lending. We are not


talking about a sub-prime boom. It is nothing like the US pre-2006.


Thank you very much. Coming up:


I'm right in the middle of the whole thing. I would love to meet you just


to say hello if you are not too busy.


The Israeli government announced today it is going to release 26


Palestinian prisoners, most convicted for murder, to mark


another set of talks to try to find some way of brining peace to that


troubled part of the world. The meetings begin tomorrow. Mark is


here. What do you think? Well, there has been a start of sorts. Those 26


prisoners have left the Israeli prison, most going to Gaza, some to


the West Bank. There were demonstrators outside, clearly some


on the right of Israeli politics don't like it. There are supposed to


be 130 released. The two sides will convene for proper negotiations


tomorrow in Jerusalem. What else can you tell us about the


House of Commons? Well, this process has been if you like through several


different philosophical evolutions. You had the Madrid process in 1991


which was to deal with the Middle East problem in one swoop. That


failed and then Oslo 20 years ago. It said OK, let's leave the


difficult issues to one side, the issues about Jerusalem, Palestinian


refugees, five million now in the Middle East and deal with what we


can deal with. That subsided into violence and you had President


Clinton who brought the sides to within a whisker of success and


since then they have been trying to deal with the sensitive issues such


as refugees, Jerusalem and settlements.


Any chance of it succeeding, do you think? You have only got to look at


the Israeli Government authorising 3,000 new housing units in the past


couple of days on East Jerusalem on land they conquered in 1967 and the


world does not recognise as sovereign Israeli land. The


Palestinians put that in a very, very pessimistic frame of mind, but


when you talk to the diplomats who dealt with these issues, they will


say, an Israeli Prime Minister at Camp David was prepared to discuss


dividing Jerusalem in 2008. We know the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud


Abbas, was prepared to make concessions on the refugee issues.


This is what John Carey says he wants the two sides to achieve in


nine months. The really serious blocks are I think on the Israeli


side, is there really a will to make the hard national choices at this


particular moment? Is their heart really in the peace process. On the


Palestinian side how can Mahmoud Abbas with his Fatah based State in


the West Bank deliver something or a state in the West Bank when Ham mass


still runs Gaza and you have to have the whole of the Palestinian


community signing up to to any deal. Two people who have taken part in


previous talks are Dr Ron Pundak, a key negotiator at the start of the


Oslo peace process in 1993. In Ramallah is Khaled Elginy, who


advised in the most recent rounds of major negotiations in Annapolis


2007. Are you holding out hopes for these talks?


Well, the situation is clearly not very easy because the gap between


what is the maximum that the Israeli Government can offer versus the


minimum the Palestinians can accept is too big. It is too huge. I think


that the differences are unbridgeable. Now, here comes the


American role which must be very dominant and not allow the two sides


after one session or two sessions just to blow up and go away. And to


be very brief, I think, that the solution which we can speak about is


a kind of a two approach solution in which the Americans will gradually


build the process which will be a first stage towards final status,


dealing with the interim condition with a parallel position, and


activity of a dominant American intermediator in which they will


bring to the scene the final vision because without the final status


vision will won't be any progress. How do you see it going? Are you


optimistic about whether the talks about produce a settlement of any


kind? I am not sure that I would cal ify


-- qualify myself as an optimist. We are seeing something we have seen


quite a bit before. Even the spike in settlement activity on the eve of


resuming negotiations is not new. It is precisely the same thing which


happened after the talks were launched and just as the parties


were about to sit down and resume negotiations we saw an increase in


settlement activity. So this is something of a peace process ritual


unfortunately. And it is really one of the flaws in this process, the


allowing really kind of unbridled settlement activity in the very


areas that Palestinians are supposed to have a State. Let me ask you


this. Forgive me cutting across you, we have a cheap satellite tonight


and there is a delay. Let me ask you, what are the areas in which you


think there might be progress? I think that on all core issues


which means final status border, refugees, Jerusalem, on the core


issues, the chances of really moving forward are less than small. And


because of this and because of the lack of interest of both sides, just


not to move forward, and specifically when we have such a I


would say poor active administration American add Mark -- administration,


especially John Kerry, at an early stage one should concentrate not on


the final status issues, but on the interim issue in order to bring a


Palestinian State on interim borders which are familiar to us from the


second phase of the road map of 2003. But this can only be with a


vision of a final status, but to speak about borders, Jerusalem today


is impossible. Let's talk about leaders. Do the two


sides have leaders who are sufficiently self-confident to make


progress? It is not just a matter of


self-confidence, it is a matter of inclin nation. -- inclination.


on. We have an Israeli Government that does not appear inclined


frankly towards a genuine two State solution. You have settlers in the


Government. You have people in the Government open to a solution and


this it is difficult to see how this Israeli Government will be able to


orientate itself towards a two State solution. You have a Palestinian


leadership that's weak and dysfunctional and it is difficult to


see how a leader leadership like that is going to have the mandate to


negotiate the broad, sweeping concessions. Do you think then


gentlemen... You have two leaderships.


Gentlemen, do you think the two of you that this idea of a two State


solution is now something that really ought just to be put to one


side for a moment to see if there are any sort of practical issues


that could be addressed in the meantime? Well, first of all, I


think that the two State solution is the only solution which would bring


peace and stability to the region. The ideas of one State, or any idea


of managing the conflict is impossible. The conflict should be


solved through a process of two States. Currently, unfortunately,


and I am agreeing with my Palestinian partner here. I don't


think that on the Israeli side we have a Government which will be able


to go through the process towards a two State solution and I believe


that we have a Palestinian partner. I am more optimistically regarding


Mahmoud Abbas to move towards a two State solution if the opportunity


will come. But having said this, we need two for a tango. The other


option which I'm trying to foster now is something which will be less


than two States, but again, within a vision that we are heading without a


compass, without a direction towards the future, we will not be able to


move one step towards any agreement between the two sides. Briefly.


Well, I think with all due respect to the doctor, the days of interim


arrangements are long gone. Of the irony is that if does not look good


now, but it maybe worse down the road as far as prospects for a two


State solution. I think -- I think more changes need to happen in the


Israeli leadership and the Palestinian leadership.


Thank you very much indeed. When did you last sit down and write


a letter? I'm not talking to you with your nib quivering like a


hummingbird over the green ink. Chances are it's been a fair while


since you received a letter either. Perhaps then, the only thing left to


do is to read other peoples' outpourings. The popular website


Letters of Note is to publish its first book in October, filled with


the personal scribblings of the rich and famous from yesteryear and the


site has given Newsnight access to some of the letters. So with his


tongue curled heartbreakingly over his upper lip, the unlettered


Stephen Smith, has compiled this August filler - I mean, urgent


rock'n'roll. You might not be so familiar of him as a sparking con


verisationist on the page. Here he is offering to keep tabs on


the youth of America on behalf of President Nixon whom he looks


forwarding forwarding -- forward to meeting on a trip to Washington DC.


Dear Mr President, I would like to introduce myself. I'm Elvis Presley


and admire you as have great respect for your office. I'm registering


under the name of John Borrows. I have done an in-depth study of drug


abuse and communist brain washing techniques and I'm right in the


middle of the whole thing. I would love to meet you say hell yes --


hello if you are not too busy. was, I wouldn't say famously, but he


was a collector of police badges and he tried to obtain police badges


from every State. The one he didn't have was a badge of the bureau of


narcotics and dangerous drug use. The only way he could think of


getting one of these badges was to write to Nixon.


This is a calligrapher. He has given Cupid a nudge from time to time,


writing love letters on behalf of shy gents. The Queen herself with


Princess Margaret await his arrival. You know how it is when you go


abroad. You meet a nice couple, promise to keep in touch, president


was treated to tea by the Queen and complimented her on her scones and


then this happens. Dear Mr President, seeing a picture


of you in today's newspaper standing in front of a barbecue grilling


quail reminded me that I have never sent you the recipe of the drop


scones which I promised you at Balmoral. We have followed


worthwhile intense interest and much admiration your tremendous journey


to so many countries. But feel we shall never again be able to claim


that we are being made to do too much on our future tours.


Yours sincerely, e Elizabeth R. This is an interesting letter


because it is trying to impersonate an intimate private letter.


Personally, I think it is a little bit fake. The idea that the Queen


had this recipe for drop scones to hand, or she typed out the recipe


herself is a little bit unconvincing.


Research for this programme from the internet shows that the volume of


mail including letters handled by the Post Office reached a peak of


some 20 billion items a year by 2000 and has slipped back to 15 billion.


Handwriting and the handwriting of letters still matters because it


just shows so much investment in the subject, in the occasional


communication. I think for most of us, there are still important


occasions in our lives when we would specify that a letter needs to be


handwritten on paper. We would probably write for instance to a


bereaved friend with a pen on paper. I think most people would still do


that. Of course, there are some letters


you might prefer not to get like a Sangin notelet from Jack the Ripper.


From hell. I send you half the kidney I took from one woman.


Preserved it for you. The other piece I fried and ate. It was very


nice. I may send you the bloody knife that took it out if you only


wait a while longer. Signed catch me when you can will Lusk.


It is the perfect time to look back at this thing and try and make it


accessible to as many people as possible. A lot of the letters exist


in archives and in museums and in old books and I just find it very


satisfying to bring them into one kind of place.


Einstein wrote to the White House in 1939 voicing his concern that


scientists were on the brink of developing a terrible new weapon,


the acomic bomb. Certain aspects of the situation which has arisen seem


to call for watchfulness and if necessary, quick action on the part


of the administration. I believe therefore that it is my duty to


bring to your attention the following facts and recommendations.


That it may become possible to set-up a nuclear chain reaction in a


large massive Ukraine stadium, by which vast amounts of pou with are


and large quantities of raid stadium would be generated. This would lead


to the construction of bombs, a single bomb of this type carried by


boat and exploded in a port might very well destroy the whole port


together with the surrounding territory.


If you have enjoyed our coverage of letters, you might like to forward a


link to Newsnight to a friend or a loved one.


The modern equivalent of the chain Well, joining me now is the


Telegraph's social media editor, Kate Day and the poet, Roger


McGough. Is this something we need to worry about, Roger? Well, I do. I


think it might be a lost art. I think, it is very important when


children are at school to learn how to write and we are losing that.


That's a handwriting thing? Yes. They hand write and they write


letters, if they are typing in and tweeting and using the internet,


people will lose the ability to write, aren't they? It is a tactile,


centre suous and good for the soul. Do you worry about it, Kate?


particularly. I agree with Roger that it is important that children


can write, but I think that also children need to rern learn to using


language and learning to write a well constructed e-mail could teach


them as well as writing a letter. are moving from the considered


letter, a series of expressions of feelings and on a piece of paper


which has been composed to instantous communication? The willer


is a conversation. It is a whisper, isn't it? The e-mail is, you no


know, it tends, you know, it tends fob informative.


Does it not depend on the e-mail. You can throw an e-mail quickly and


tell someone you will be five minutes late. Or you can write


something considered. Do you do that? Yeah, from time to


time. Not hugely... Do you post things too? Yeah, particularly


private messages on Facebook and Twitter. I wouldn't want to make the


messages public because they are more intimate and intended for one


person, but I sit down and write considered e-mails and receive


considered e-mails and you know when you get an e-mail whether somebody


put time into it or whether it is a thrown away message.


I was talking to my son of 22 about this before he came out. He said he


would find it pretentious to write a letter. A lot of young people find


this except if you are, you know, writing a bereavement or a farewell


letter or something and e-mails are used, except he wouldn't like a


value Valentine in an e-mail e-mail? Did you receive that? Would you not


like a nice letter? I remember when I was at university and we used to


get letters from mum and dad. My mum, she wrote a lot. She was very


chatty and very gossipy. My dad, who wasn't good at writing, he wrote in


capital letters, but when I got his letters, it was wonderful. They were


few and far between, but you could almost smell the tobacco and the


time he had taken to do. E-mail, they would have just done and...


look at some of those examples of letters given there. There is a


physical artefact. You get some sense of the person from that in a


way you would never really get it, do you, from electronic


communication? Well, you lose the physicalality, but you get an


intimacy by sharing the moment in a way you can't with the lettermed


Supposing you were a historian or a biographer and you are going through


someone's correspondence and all you have got is e-mails sent and


received. Is it anything good as letters? Well, you could argue it is


better. Why?You are going to have more stored. You are going to get a


wider picture of that person's life and wouldn't you want to he read the


Pope's e-mails or the Queen's e-mails. Do you think it is more


honest in a way? I think you get a broader picture so you will get some


of the formal messages from very public figures that they are sending


as head of State, but you might also get their private communications


that are much more casual and so you get a much richer picture about who


they are because we can store that now in a way it was much more ad hoc


in the past with physical letters. Isn't it something about the letter?


It is the letter and someone has been out doing the gartening, there


might be ksh gardening, there might be soil on the letter. I remember


judging children's poetry competitions, ten or 15 years ago,


the children children sent their poetry with mistakes and bad


spelling and now they compere effectually written and typed and


with spell check and something has lost.


In the same way that I think e-mail is cold.


Isn't there something wonderful about sharing a moment with somebody


that the instand tinnious nature that -- instantous nature, if you


are sending something a tweet and you know they are thinking about it


at the same moment. There is something lovely about it.


That's a point. I am an occasional tweeter, but I like reading. I mean,


reading the paper about the fam famous beard. There is a lot of


rubbish on Twitter. I think we will stop this


conversation! Sorry. We all need to drink more beer. This


is the sort of political instruction Homer Simpson can understand. No


less a figure than the hitherto unknown Brandon Lewis - apparently


he is minister for pubs - has endorsed a scheme to list 100 pubs


to save them from being bulldozed. If that's his idea of dramatic


action, don't ask him to buy a round. The fate of pubs is normally


a worry of men with beards. But according to the Campaign for Real


Ale, great numbers of human beings without the Y sex chromosome are


also worrying about the fate of beer. Robin Denselow is our man in


British Beer Festival. An annual event it attracts 55,000 people most


of them male, to the London Olympia where they can sample over 800 real


ales and ciders and celebrate the now endangered great British


institution, the pub. I like it. Pubs are closing so fast


across the country that there is a Government backed campaign to


protect them. I think they are unique community assets. There is


nothing else in our society that provides the same sort of benefit I


think for people in terms of meeting places and quite often particularly


in rural communities they are the only place where people can get


together and enjoy a drink responsibly and sociably with their


family ands friends so nothing else can provide that amenity.


But if people are not going there anymore, shouldn't they just close?


It is not as simple as saying they are not economically viable. The


land can be worth more in alternative use and so, you know, we


had to have a. Proper planning procedure in place to protect pubs


so people have a say on the future of the amenities before they are


closed and turned into flats or shops or any other use.


So there is serious business behind the booze-up. The industry employs


around one million people in breweries and pubs across the


country. Half of them under 25. Which is why 100 pubs are to be


given a special status in a bid to stop them being sold off for


redevelopment. Pubs are closing at a an astonishing rate. 26 a week


across the UK, that's nearly 5,000 over four years. But now if a pub


becomes an asset of community value, the local authority has to be told


when it is on sale, and a local groups up to six months to put in a


bid to buy it. What difference do you think the measures will make?


just means the communities get a chance to say this is a pub that


matters to our community. We want to list it. We want to protect it. If


anybody looks at selling that pub or moving it on, community gets a


period of time where it can come together and many have already


around the country and buy it as a community and when they do that, it


is a proper community pub, coming together and generally, they are


successful. We have got 100,000 and we are looking to get 300 by the end


of the year. The amount of beer and lager sold in


pubs and hotels in the UK has dropped. In the first six months of


1999, it was just under 50,000 barrels. The figure for the same


period this. Year was just over 28,000 barrels.


Keeping a pub going by making it an asset of community value may help,


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