A YORK landlord is leading national calls for urgent action to save pubs facing huge losses due to the coronavirus crisis.

Paul Crossman, licensee of The Swan, The Slip Inn and Volunteer Arms in York, is chairing a new national campaign group which aims to give a stronger voice for the industry at grassroots level.

The Campaign for Pubs has been established by prominent licensees, pub campaigners, small brewers and pub lovers including academics, musicians and actors.

Its aim is to push for a better, freer and fairer, more sustainable pub sector.

Paul is joined by Phil Saltonstall, managing director and founder of Brass Castle Brewery in Malton, as the campaign's brewer coordinator, speaking out for brewers to call for a more open, thriving, sustainable pub sector with more direct access to pubs and to publicans.

Organisers want to see more pubs in the hands of those who genuinely care about them, ensuring they are better placed to serve the needs of local communities.

This would also offer better protection against closure and property development, they say.

Paul said: “There is an urgent need for a dynamic new campaign group providing a real voice for pubs and those who love and support them and we will begin by calling for urgent action to support and save pubs facing huge losses due to the Covid-19 crisis.

"The Campaign for Pubs will campaign vigorously, along with the British Pub Confederation, for more support for pubs now.

"We will then campaign for the key changes that are needed to deliver a more independent and sustainable future for pubs, one which will allow them to truly thrive as cornerstones of their communities as all pubs should.

"For less than the price of a pint a month, you can help stand up for pubs and publicans, so please join us today and fight for pubs.”

Membership costs £25 a year, or £40 for a couple.

Members will become part of a national network, and their subscription will fund campaigning work.

The launch comes as the future of thousands of pubs is at risk due to the enforced closures in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. Paul is joined by pub campaigner, former MP and British Pub Confederation Greg Mulholland as campaign director.

York Press:

Phil Saltonstall, pictured, said: “We have a dynamic brewing sector with many wonderful smaller breweries making great beer, but access to market is often closed-off due to the dominance of large pubcos and giant brewers.

"Big players have made the UK pub landscape in large part inequitable, skewed and charmless.

"Established organisations are struggling to speak-up for small brewers in that context. I am delighted to support the Campaign for Pubs and add our voice to calling for a better, freer, fairer and more independent future for the UK’s pubs and brewers alike.”

Licensing lawyer David Dadds and Professor Darren Lilleker, of Bournemouth University have also joined the committee, as has actor and musician Paul Courtney Hyu.

The Campaign for Pubs is a member organisation of the British Pub Confederation (the Confederation of independent organisations representing pubs and pub campaigners) and the Campaign for Pubs will administer and support the ongoing work of the Confederation to further strengthen representation for pubs and publicans.

Follow the camapign on Twitter @campaignforpubs.