Save St Albans Pubs wins support of district council

Sean Hughes, landlord of The Boot.

Sean Hughes, landlord of The Boot. - Credit: Archant

A campaign in support of St Albans pubs facing cripping business rate increases has won the backing of district councillors.

They supported a motion calling on the council to look at ways to protect pubs worst affected by the revaluation of business rates.

It was tabled following a campaign and parliamentary petition by pressure group Save St Albans Pubs.

Councillors quickly reached a consensus in the debate on the issue, as speaker after speaker spoke in favour of the motion.

Cllr Chris White, who proposed it, said at the meeting: “Pubs are not naughty. They are part of how we live.

“What matters to me, as a resident, is that this is a lively place to go.”

Referring to business rates, he said: “We have a tax that is threatening how we live in St Albans.”

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Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles said: “Pubs are not just where we go to drink.

“They are part of our way of life. Part of Britain.”

The motion was carried by the council, with an amendment by Cllr Malachy Pakenham to remove the mandate for a special group to look at the issue.

Speaking afterwards, Cllr White said: “The council has adopted the petition and so we need to get signatures on it.

“The council will do what it can locally but that is pretty limited.

“So we will use the petition to influence the Chancellor.”

The petition on the Parliament website currently has over 2,800 signatures.

Shortly before the meeting, the Save St Albans Pubs group released a statement saying: “From the consultation in 2016 to the latest evidence, this revaluation bill has been a flawed policy with a poor four-week consultation period, rather than the three-month consultation period recommended by the Cabinet Office.

“There was no regional impact assessment carried out which would have highlighted the flaws from the start.

“It is time to pause and have a fundamental review before any increases come into force.”

Visit to find out more about the petition.