Editor’s Viewpoint – Is The Pub Becoming An Unaffordable Luxury?

empty-pubWe have a rather tongue in cheek article on our website from the Campaign for Real Ale entitled, “Which politician would you trust to run a bar?”

I would add, that if they ran a pub in the same way that they are run the country, how long would you give it before it closes down?!

The reason I ask that on a more serious note, it is their policies, which are crippling the pub industry. Another article which we have on our website reveals the results of a survey, again by CAMRA, which confirm what we already know; high taxes and cheap supermarket alcohol are the significant factors causing pub closures.

The rate of pub closures has thankfully reduced, but I have friends in the pub industry, and obviously I engage with publicans/licensees on a regular basis. Whilst it is good news that the rate of pub closures is reduced, the harsh truth is that many of these businesses struggle to make a living due to the factors above.

I have a very old friend, running a pub paying herself below the minimum wage, working huge amounts of hours and finding it impossible to make the business profitable.

In the article on our website regarding taxes and supermarket competition the Treasury Department responded by saying that a Treasury spokesman said: “This Government has been a cheerleader for the British pub industry and because of our action to cut beer duty and end the beer duty escalator, over 19,000 jobs in the industry and 1,000 pubs have been saved.

“A typical pint of beer is now 10 pence lower than it would have been and an estimated 75% of pubs stand to save hundreds of pounds per year as a result of the changes made to business rates.”

I would dearly like to hear your views on that. I have been corresponding with a pub in Wales – a very passionate licensee who has run his pub for many years – and he is adamant that the beer duty cut and the end of the beer duty escalator have simply not been passed on. He has written to suppliers and to this the Treasury several times, and did not, in my opinion, receive an answer that in any way could be called satisfactory.

A spokesman for CAMRA said that visits to the pub are becoming an “unaffordable luxury”, which is a devastating indictment. Whilst they also point to some notable successes, it is clear that the cuts are not finding our way down the chain.

Once again we would be very much interested in your views, which we would be delighted to forward to the publican in Wales who is continuing with his campaign.

Peter Adams
Editor of CLH News