Calling for Government help for York Pubs
I have written to George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to urge him to offer more support to pubs and clubs.
In March I sent out questionnaires to pubs and clubs in my constituency to find out how they were managing in the current economic climate.
The survey showed that the licensees were concerned about five main issues. I have sent a copy of the results to the Chancellor together with my recommendations, which are as follows:
• Taxation – Remove the beer duty escalator so that the price of beer remains affordable in local pubs and clubs.
• Minimum pricing for alcohol – Most licensees believe the biggest contributory factor for a fall in profits is cheap supermarket prices and an overwhelming 93% of licensees do not want supermarkets to be able to sell alcohol at reduced rates. Any minimum price should reflect the views of licensees.
• Loss leader promotions – The majority of licensees did not want alcohol to be used in loss leader promotions by off-licences, supermarkets or bars. They were unable to compete with the prices and believed it could encourage irresponsible drinking.
• Pub company/landlord contracts – The relationship between pub companies and landlords is unfair. Many landlords believe their rents have increased disproportionately to the cost of living over the last year and the amount they are charged for beer and spirits is sometimes higher than their rivals are able to retail it at. Pub companies have not abided by guidelines and the government should look at bringing about a statutory code to guide and regulate the relationship.
• Sensible drinking campaigns – Landlords already control and regulate the amount of alcohol people buy. The government should be looking to work with pubs and clubs in order to promote sensible drinking campaigns.
The full results of the survey can be seen here.
These are difficult times for pubs and clubs, and some are facing closure. I wanted to find out what landlords think the problems are and what they want the government to do to offer more support.
When VAT was increased to 20% people noticed the difference in price and landlords say this has had a huge effect on their sales. The Government should look seriously at reducing beer duty, to compensate for the VAT rise.
Many of the landlords are concerned about supermarkets selling alcohol at prices they can’t compete with. They say there has been a huge increase in the number of people who are already drunk before they reach their first pub. Most landlords want to see a legal minimum price for alcohol to stop this happening.
Pubs and clubs control the amount of alcohol customers consume and if the government are serious about tackling binge drinking they should be looking at working with the pub industry to promote sensible drinking. My letter to the Chancellor can be read here.