Save St Albans Pubs: MP Anne Main highlights campaign in Parliamentary debate

St Albans MP Anne Main in a pervious debate about business rates for St Albans pubs.

St Albans MP Anne Main in a pervious debate about business rates for St Albans pubs. - Credit: Archant

St Albans MP Anne Main has once again highlighted the plight of the Save St Albans Pubs campaign in Parliament.

In 2017, pubs around the district were impacted by a change in the way business rates are calculated which meant many establishments saw an increase.

For example the Blacksmiths Arms’ rose 82 per cent, The Beech House 59 per cent, The Boot 280 per cent, Dylans 32 per cent, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks 60 per cent, and The Six Bells 87 per cent.

More than 30 of the 50 pubs in this area will need to collectively sell about 180,000 pints per year to cover the hike.

Mrs Main held a debate in Parliament last week on the importance of Beer, Taxation and Pubs across the UK.

The debate was three hours long and in the main chamber. She said: “There are so many other things: some pubs run mini-libraries, while others run campaigns to support local people in need or help charities.

“Some hold darts matches. They are a focal point for many people who have nowhere else to go to meet friends and can be a place for celebrations with relatives as well.”

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Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced a 33 per cent discount on business rates for small companies in the 2018 October Budget, but many St Albans pubs did not benefit from the reduction because they are valued above £51,000.

Additionally, turnover is used to calculate business rates - a sore point for successful establishments.

Mrs Main continued: “Many [St Albans] pubs have contacted me about a massive hike in business rates; they have to cut staff or close their businesses altogether.

“That cannot be the message that the government intended to send out.

“The cut of 33 per cent in rates for businesses with a rateable value of under £51,000 was a major step, but in areas such as St Albans it is not having an impact.

“Areas with high property values such as St Albans are almost totally overlooked.”

“The Boot [in St Albans], which I have just mentioned, is an absolutely tiny heritage pub—some people have bigger sitting rooms.”

She said she hopes to meet with the Treasury and local landlords this week.

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