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,