RIBBLE Valley MP Nigel Evans as voiced his concern over the ‘high rate’ of pub closures in East Lancashire in the House of Commons.

Addressing the Minister for Tourism, Helen Grant, Mr Evans asked if she would discuss with ministers what more could be done to retain the ‘vitality of this amazing industry’.

He said: “I think everybody knows I am a huge supporter of the pub industry and I do want us to find a way to stop the erosion of these great community assets.

“Pubs are still closing at far too high a rate and the industry does need government support in order to arrest its decline.

“Locally, I find it very sad that well established pubs such as the Derby Arms at Thornley have been forced to close.

“There are many things the government could look at, from business rates to beer duty, but we must address the problem before it is too late and the Great British Pub is consigned to history.”

Mrs Grant said: “We are doing a great deal to assist the business sector, and that includes helping pubs by reducing fuel and beer duties.

“We are also trying to simplify planning and continue to cut red tape, regulation and bureaucracy.”