On Wednesday 25th May 2016 Professor Dunbar and his research team from Oxford University travelled to Parliament to present the findings of‘Friends on Tap’. The research reveals that people who have a local pub have more close friends, are happier and more trusting of others and feel more engaged with the wider community.
The report was presented at the Parliamentary Beer Group AGM, which was attended by 19 MPs. Professor Dunbar discussed the premise for the research, his findings and how the report was conducted. He implored MPs to consider how a huge financial burden to the NHS and the economy could be alleviated if we had a happy and socially connected population, which he said was the key to the nation’s health.
CAMRA Chief Executive Tim Page followed this by highlighting policy implications of the role of pubs as hubs to communities. He implored Members of Parliament to do more to support pubs from closing down to keep them as viable and well-used hubs of local communities. He argued that we need to do more to encourage people to go out and visit their local pub and alleviate the stigma against social drinking so that we have a balanced debate around alcohol consumption.
He also asked MPs to do more to help struggling pubs stay open, arguing that this could be achieved by strengthening planning laws so that communities don’t need to go through the ACV process to protect pubs from closing.
Attending MPs were very interested in the findings, asking questions about the role in pubs in improving mental health and wellbeing and how much money pubs end up raising for charities – quoting Pub Aid findings which found that £100 million has been raised for charity in pubs alone.
The event was part of CAMRA’s Pubs & Wellbeing campaign, which you can visit here: http://www.camra.org.uk/pubs-wellbeing