MSP worry as pubs forced to call time

AN MSP has voiced her concern over the number of pubs in the Motherwell and Bellshill areas which have been forced to call time over the past five years.

Margaret Mitchell, Conservative list MSP for Central Scotland, said a report highlighting the closure of more than 700 hostelries in Scotland since 2007 was evidence of the demise of the traditional local pub.

The report, published following research undertaken by brewer Molson Coors, says that in the Motherwell and Wishaw constituency, 13 pubs have closed in the last five years, the loss of almost a quarter of the area’s pubs.

And in Uddingston and Bellshill over the same period a further eight pubs have closed.

A range of factors - from the smoking ban which was introduced in 2006 to the recession - have been blamed for the decline with independent bars hit much harder than chain pubs over that time period.

Mrs Mitchell said: “A well run pub can be the heart of a small community and, as the report shows, after the local shop, pubs were the most frequently visited amenity.

“But despite this we are losing them at an unprecedented rate.

“Local pubs provide a space where people can meet and socialise and in recent years the industry has adapted to the changing economic environment, providing other services and changing perceptions of what a pub can be bringing in more women, young people and families.

“In addition to this, the beer and pub industry employs over 50,000 people in Scotland and each of these closures represents the loss of jobs for local people.

“The Scottish Government needs to maintain a sense of proportion and acknowledge that independent pubs can make a positive contribution to, and are much valued by, local communities.

“Perhaps then more independent local pubs will stand a chance of surviving in the future.”

Is Margaret Mitchell right? Is the traditional ‘local pub’ on its way out and should more be done to save them? Let us know what you think by e-mailing your views or place comments on our Facebook page or on Twitter where you can follow us @TimesSpeaker.