Saturday, 21 March 2009

39 British pubs close each week: time for local action

It's a story that's inspiring and upsetting in equal measures. How did we get to the point where so many of Britain's most beloved community assets - its pubs and its rural shops
- are being forced to close? According to the British Beer & Pub Association, the combination of high taxes and low supermarket prices is causing 39 pubs to close every week.

Today's Guardian carried a story on the dedicated groups of locals who are banding together to save these services. Pooling their time and money, they are forming
limited-liability community companies.

It's a fascinating story and well worth a read. It also made me think of the community cooperatives here in Argentina. When the economic crisis hit in 2001/02, redundant workers took over abandoned factories, where they once worked, and put them back in to operation, sharing the profits between them. Circumstances were very different - there were no loans or official channels, and they didn't have permission - but it's another demonstration of the strength of local communities.

Want to know more about what happened in Argentina? I highly recommend watching The Take, a documentary by No Logo author, Naomi Klein. The powerful trailer (above) should certainly wet appetites.