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Bottoms up! U.K. social spending initiative to invest in pubs


Money for beer? David Cameron's new push to kick-start U.K. entrepreneurship includes cash to help people open pubs and village greens. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

British Prime Minister David Cameron's government may be imposing controversial austerity measures across the U.K., but, this time he may be on to something.

Cameron announced on Thursday that he'll be giving 250 million pounds to prop up the "Big Society" initiative, a campaign he kicked-off in 2011 to get behind British entrepreneurs, manufacturers and builders in the hopes that investments will create jobs.

The quarter of a billion pounds will be available, in part, to communities so they can open up their own pubs, shops, community centres and village greens, reports the Daily Telegraph.

"Everyone knows how vital institutions in our towns and villages are, like village halls, playing fields, local pubs. And everyone knows how, despite the best efforts of parish and local councils, these can face closure. I want our social investment funds to give people the opportunity to take them over and run them," he said.

The money comes from the Big Society Capital and the Big Lottery fund, for the rest of the decade, notes the Telly.

Earlier this year, one of the big news items coming out of Cameron's budget was that the price of a pint of beer was reduced by one pence.

Meanwhile, council or local municipal governments have struggled under Cameron's austerity agenda. Northern English towns have suffered more than those in the richer south because they have relied on more support from London. In Liverpool, for instance, they are closing libraries, local sports programs are in trouble and food banks have sprung up across the city.

Liverpool was forced to trim $221 million from its budget in the last two years and during the next four years, another $224 million must be chopped.

The anti-austerity crowd believe increasing government infrastructure spending during times of economic woes will stimulate the economy and create jobs.

Not sure if this is what they had in mind.

But it might work.

Tanya Talaga is the Star's global economics reporter. She is currently reporting from the United Kingdom. Follow her on Twitter @tanyatalaga


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