A CALL to save the Great British Pub has been made by a Wirral Euro MP who says a Royal Commission should be set up to to investigate the industry's decline.

The proposal has been put forward by UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall, who says the smoking ban should be partiall lifted.

Mr Nuttall said: "The Royal Commission would investigate the pricing structures used by breweries through pubcos [venture capitialist backed-companies]and their captive markets for bulk wholesale goods and the cost of sales to supermarkets.

"This structure makes the cost of wholesale prices, from tied sales from a pubco or even independent wholesalers, more expensive than some retail beer prices in supermarkets.

"UKIP will insist on reduced differentials and a fairer balance in beer pricing between on and off-trade beer sales."

Mr Nuttal said he has spent a considerable amount time investigating the reasons for the decline of the Great British pub and with pubs closing at a the rate of 28 a week it is vital that urgent action is taken.

He continued: "In 2009 a total of 2,365 pubs closed across the country which led to the loss of more than 10,000 jobs in local communities, in turn costing the government an extra £1.53m a week in job seekers allowance.

"Pubs are more than just private businesses selling alcohol: very many pubs play an important role at the heart of their local communities. They provide a valuable meeting place and inject an average of £80,000 a year into their local economy.

"Beer sold through pubs also generates more funding for the public purse than beer sold through the off-trade."

"There should be a change in VAT rules so that drinks in pubs can be offered at prices that can compete with those sold in supermarkets. The below-cost selling of drink by supermarketers and the off trade has been linked to anti-social behaviour and health problems, particularly among young drinkers."

And he stressed: "For the industry to get back on its feet a clear and direct strategy needs to be put in place.

"It is imperative that the Government takes on board the concerns of the industry with regard to the smoking ban, tied beer prices, duty and tax.

"UKIP would amend the smoking ban to allow pub landlords and club managers to provide contained and ventilated smoking rooms."