MP fights for future of St Albans pubs

St Albans pub landlords sign an open letter to the chancellor of the exchequer. Picture: Danny Loo

St Albans pub landlords sign an open letter to the chancellor of the exchequer. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

St Albans MP Anne Main warned that “warm words will not save our pubs” during a parliamentary debate on the future of British pubs.

Mrs Main spoke of the challenges facing public houses, which are often in old or listed buildings. She supports Sean Hughes, co-owner of Dylans Craft Beer Ltd and The Boot in St Albans, who called for a review of the business rates system to save pubs, including a ‘pub cap’ which would limit the rates bills to 12.5 per cent.

“The pub industry is vital to St Albans,” Mrs Main said. “It supports over 1,600 jobs and adds over £30 million to the economy. We must continue to look at ways that the government can keep alive this great British institution, and help it flourish.”

Minister Andrew Jones said the Goverment “hugely valued” pubs and he would take forward the representations made by MPs in anticipation of the Budget on Wednesday, November 22.

Pubs in St Albans are facing a rates increase in the thousands after the government revalued business properties. The group Save St Albans Pubs, lead by Sean Hughes, responded by starting a petition demanding a cap on the increases.

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The group has said that a similar system to the proposed ‘pub cap’ exists in Scotland, and should be adopted in England.

Landlords, politicians and businessmen previously united at the St Albans Beer and Cider Festival to discuss the changes to business rates. The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) have also launched their own separate campaign condemning the rates increase.

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