St Albans MP Anne Main receives trophy and award for supporting pubs

Visit Herts director David Curtis-Brignell, St Albans MP Anne Main, and Ye Olde Fighting Cocks landl

Visit Herts director David Curtis-Brignell, St Albans MP Anne Main, and Ye Olde Fighting Cocks landlord Christo Tofalli. Picture: Submitted by St Albans MP Anne Main - Credit: Archant

St Albans MP Anne Main has received a trophy and title for being an ally to the pub industry.

Mrs Main was named a Beer Champion by the British Beer and Pub Association because of her support for the Long Live The Local campaign.

This lobbying group secured consecutive beer duty freezes and is now pushing for the fee to be cut in 2019.

Along with other supportive MPs, Mrs Main was also given a tap-handle trophy.

She said: "I am delighted to receive this award and I must congratulate the British Beer and Pub Association for their long-running and successful campaign.

"Pubs are so important to the St Albans community and I will continue to do everything I can to ensure they get the support they need from the government.

"I have had several meetings with government ministers in the Treasury and held debates in Parliament on the topic of support for pubs this year. I hope we now see some real action to support this important sector in the upcoming budget."

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This comes as a parallel campaign, Save UK Pubs, is pushing for a review of how business rates are calculated.

A re-evaluation of the business rates formula in 2017 left St Albans' pubs facing an average 72 per cent hike.

In last year's October Budget, then-Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a one-third discount for retail premises with a rateable value of £51,000 - but this did not help 24 pubs in St Albans valued higher.

The campaign was recently renamed Save UK Pubs to reflect its national significance.

Campaign leader Sean Hughes said: "We are delighted that Anne has been given an award."

Although the award is for a different campaign, he said Mrs Main has thrown her backing behind the business rates issue as well.

He said: "Businesses rates are now the most important and pressing issue in this industry and if we don't do something about this in the next two years, we will have a serious problem in the high street.

"Everyone is under enormous pressure. The first thing it will result in is job cuts and in the long run it will result in more closures."

This comes as a foraging pub in St Albans, The Verulam Arms, declared insolvency. It had faced an 104 per cent business rates rise.