Cold Beer on a Hot Night
w/c 27 January 2020
It almost goes without saying that the local pub is a great British institution. No matter where you are in the country, or indeed whatever your favourite soap on TV is, a classic boozer is an integral part of the community.
Or should I say, used to be? In the first half of 2019, it was reported that around 40 pubs a month were closing their doors. By July, over 235 had been confirmed as shut for good.
At the time, Kate Nicholls, CEO of UK Hospitality said: “Cost pressures, principally extortionate business rates, are pushing too many pubs to the margins and high streets are being squeezed.”
So, I was delighted to see that the Government has announced that its plans to slash the business rates for small shops has been extended to pubs. It will come into play this April, with £1000 being taken off the bill of small pubs that qualify for the relief. Across the UK, this means that as many as 18,000 hostelries could benefit. While here in Southend, a number of much-loved High Street and seafront establishments also look set to take advantage of the new discount, with up to £13,500 possibly being taken off their annual bills.
Not only are pubs set to take advantage of the new legislation, cafes, music venues and cinemas are also in line for a possible windfall.
Of course, I should declare an interest here. My mum runs a popular pub in Leigh, so I know first-hand that this relief will be welcomed with open arms. Not only that, as the daughter of a publican I am fully aware of the vital role that pubs play in our society. For centuries they have provided a hub for the surrounding community, often helping to tackle loneliness and social isolation, so I’m passionate about preserving this important part of our history and culture. These lower rates could also help to preserve many jobs here in Southend and keep your favourite boozer open, which is well worth raising a glass to.
- Suzanne Gloyne