Written by ROB SMYTH
A CAMPAIGN spearheaded by Burton’s MP to ensure pubs across the country can open later during the World Cup has received the backing of the Prime Minister.
David Cameron has called for a rethink on pub opening hours during the World Cup, a cause championed by Andrew Griffiths, after ministers appeared to rule out extending them for England matches.
Publicans had asked for serving times to be extended on two weekends during the tournament in Brazil this summer.
The Home Office rejected the bid, saying the World Cup was not a ‘one-off’ event like the Queen’s Jubilee.
But Downing Street confirmed that pubs could be allowed to stay open during England’s game against Italy, which kicks off at 11pm on Saturday, June 14.
Mr Griffiths told the Mail: “I have been leading the campaign on this issue and first raised it in the House of Commons.
“I am absolutely delighted with the news that the Prime Minister is behind the bid to allow pubs to stay open later during the World Cup, which will allow football fans to enjoy a pint in their local while cheering on England but also provide a boost to the pub industry.
“This could be the number one event of 2014 for the pub trade and I am glad that we are hopefully able to help them make the most of its, helping pubs across the whole country along the way.”
Pubs could be allowed to stay open until 1pm to allow fans to enjoy England’s first group game in the tournament.
The British Beer and Pub Association, who submitted the application on behalf of all pubs in the UK to save on costs, has ‘thanked’ Mr Griffiths for his campaigning work to boost pubs this summer.
Chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “I am delighted that the Prime Minister has intervened to back Britain’s pubs and make clear that England’s World Cup campaign is a time for celebration.
“This commonsense decision would remove a great deal of bureaucracy for pubs. The best place to enjoy the England team’s journey is in a local pub.”