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Stephen Williams:Somali immigrants cause pub closures in UK

By Tajuddin
In Local News
Jan 26th, 2015
Stephen Williams, the Liberal Democrat communities minister

Stephen Williams, the Liberal Democrat communities minister

London ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) – Pubs are closing as a result of Somali immigrants arriving in Britain, a Government minister has said.

Stephen Williams, the Liberal Democrat communities minister, told the House of Commons that new waves of immigration replacing the “white working class” had led to the pub trade evaporating in some parts of the country.

His comments came as the Government unveiled new plans to protect pubs which are valuable to local communities.

The measures will stop pubs which meet the criteria from being demolished or converted for other uses, such as housing.

Mr Williams said “blanket protection” of every pub in the country was not possible because it would encompass some which had been abandoned by the local community because they do not drink alcohol.

“In my own constituency, lots of pubs have closed but it is usually because of demographic change,” said the minister, who represents a seat in Bristol.

“Particularly in some parts of my constituency, which used to have … ‘a white working class community’ 20 or 30 years ago are now populated primarily by recently-arrived Somalis and other people.

“Obviously the pubs in that area have closed.

“Some have been converted to other uses, some of them actually are still derelict.”

It came after comments made in December by Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, a Conservative, who said the growing Muslim population was one of the main reasons for pubs closing.

A series of amendments to the Infrastructure Bill were tabled including a cross-party effort to ensure pubs and other drinking establishments could not be demolished or have their use changed without planning permission.

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