Pubs make a major contribution to the economy and to community life. That is why the Government are supporting pubs through measures such as the beer duty freeze and the business rates retail discount announced in the Budget.
That does not really answer the question of why 7,000 pubs have closed since 2010, so I encourage the Minister to address that when she returns to the Dispatch Box. To be more positive, she will have seen that the all-party parliamentary group on pubs is bringing about a parliamentary pub of the year award, so I encourage her to nominate a pub in her constituency and to join us and the Under-Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the hon. Member for Rossendale and Darwen (Jake Berry), on 15 January to find out which is Britain’s greatest parliamentary pub.
I recognise the hon. Gentleman’s concern and his work in this area over a long period of time. He is a champion for the sector. There are several reasons why there may be pub closures, which is why we are acting to freeze beer duty and address small business rate relief. We estimate that 75% of pubs will benefit from the reductions announced in the Budget. To answer his second point, I will happily attend the event on 15 January, if possible.
Order. We come now to topical questions, and I gently remind the House that topicals are supposed to be much shorter than substantives, so we do not want preambles. Members who start to engage in preambles will be asked to resume their seat. With straightforward questions and straightforward replies, we will rip through as many as we possibly can.