Tower Hamlets’ Liberal Democrats have called for the Government to protect local pubs from crippling tax hikes announced in 2017 as the number of hostelries receiving funding from its relief scheme continues to rise.
The Lib Dems for Tower Hamlets tweeted:
— TowerHamlets LibDems (@THLDs) October 23, 2017
Their call comes as figures show that 53 local pubs in the Tower Hamlets areas have received funding from the Government’s relief scheme, with over £90,000 being paid out so far.
In 2016, Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) announced that the UK was suffering from 27 pub closures per week on average.
The Campaign for Real Ale’s Good Beer Guide 2018 has called for greater support for British pubs after revealing they are under threat as never before.
The Guide reports that when CAMRA was formed in the early 1970s, Britain had 75,000 pubs. The number is now fewer than 50,000, with more beer drunk at home than in the pub.
While there are a number of contributing factors to the decline over the years, the Guide describes how the new business rates revaluation introduced in 2017 is the latest “ticking time bomb” to devastate the sector.
The Government announced last March that pubs in England hit with higher business rates would receive a £1,000 annual discount this year. But this is just a one-off scheme, meaning pubs will not receive any further relief in future.
Liberal Democrat spokesperson Elaine Bagshaw told ELL: “Pubs form the bedrock of our local communities, but many now worry they will have to close their doors as a result of rising costs and crippling tax hikes.
“This relief is welcome, but it is only a temporary sticking plaster.
“We need to properly protect pubs in the long-term by capping business rate rises at 12.5 per cent.”
The struggles of high taxation are felt throughout the country, and coupled with high rent prices, the struggles of running a London pub are arduous for small independent businesses.
Liam Davy, owner and landlord of Bad Sports bar and restaurant in Tower Hamlets, spoke to ELL discussing the issues of protecting smaller businesses and the effects of taxation upon his business.
He said: “As an owner of a bar and restaurant in Tower Hamlets – just – we do face pretty high business rates as well as massive rents.”
Davy spoke of the importance of independent smaller businesses and how valued they are.
He said: “Many landlords I’ve come across positively discriminate in favour of smaller independents when choosing tenants in order to keep neighbourhoods more interesting.”
Good Beer Guide Editor, Roger Protz, argued there was no replacement for the pub. He said: “The British pub is unique – it is rooted in our island’s history, dating from Roman and Saxon times. There is no better place for people to meet, enjoy a beer, strike up a conversation, make new friends and put the world to rights. Above all, the British pub, both ancient and modern, has character and an atmosphere that could never be replaced.”