Anne Main brings up Save St Albans Pubs campaign in Commons Budget debate

PUBLISHED: 13:08 09 January 2019

The Houses of Parliament the day after the 2018 Budget.

The Houses of Parliament the day after the 2018 Budget.

Archant

Pubs in St Albans are being penalised by the business rates system, the city’s MP told the Commons on Tuesday.

Anne Main visits city inns with Save St Albans Pubs.Anne Main visits city inns with Save St Albans Pubs.

Anne Main was speaking in the Finance Bill debates when she brought up the problems city centre businesses are having with the rates system.

She said: “The Government were absolutely right to target business rates as a way of helping the high street and small businesses, with a cut of 33 per cent in rates for businesses with a rateable value of under £51,000.

“In areas like mine with high property values, however, it is not having the impact the Chancellor might have hoped.

“The new rate simply provides a cliff edge that penalises successful ​businesses in areas that are plagued by high property values.

“We must devise a system that helps small businesses and pubs to thrive, not just those with a low retail value.”

The debate came after Mrs Main toured several St Albans pubs which had been badly hit by an increase in their business rates bill in 2017.

The Blacksmiths Arms, The Beech House, The Boot, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks and The Six Bells were all visited by her in November.

She continued: “I recently met pub owners in my constituency who have been hit extremely hard by business rates.

“I have cut out an awful lot of my speech, but I am pleased to say that I have secured a Westminster Hall debate on this matter next Tuesday.

“I look forward to exploring the matter further with a minister.

“Pubs in areas such as St Albans are seeing massive hikes in business rates, not the help that was intended.”

Next Tuesday’s debate will take place in the Grand Committee Room, which is separate to the House of Commons Chamber, and is known as a Westminster Hall debate.

The debate will be titled ‘Effect of business rates on pubs’ and Mrs Main has asked St Albans publicans to write in on matters such as what increased rates mean for their business and recruitment ability, and whether it will affect current employment levels.

Mrs Main said: “Pubs are a vital part of our community in St Albans and we must do everything we can to ensure they are supported by central government.”

Publicans who wish to contribute should email maina@parliament.uk

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