St Albans MP, Anne Main, has said that the government must ‘ensure the future of our historic British pubs’ in anticipation of Wednesday’s Budget.
Mrs Main met with the communities secretary, Sajid Javid, to protest about the planned rate rise affecting pubs in St Albans. She said,
‘I had a full and frank discussion with the minister. Publicans in St Albans are occupying some of our oldest and dearest buildings, and if we want to ensure the future of our historic British pubs, the government must look carefully at the business rates re-evaluation.’
Recently the government announced changes to business rates which will see the biggest ever cut to the levy, with nearly three-quarters of all businesses across the country seeing their rates fall or stay the same. In St Albans, businesses will see a 10 per cent cut on average, but unparished pubs in the district are seeing some of the biggest rises.
‘Whilst I’m pleased that the government has taken action to support businesses, the rate rise for some in St Albans is too much to swallow,’ said Anne. ‘Some pubs in St Albans occupy historic buildings and face particular challenges in maintaining their structure, which is not reflected in the way that the rates are calculated.
‘I do believe that the minister was in listening mode, and I pressed him robustly. Pubs are a vitally important aspect of British life, and it’s vital that the government does all it can to ensure that public houses are not priced out our historic town centres.’