St Albans MP asks government to do “all it can” to help city pubs in November Budget

19th October 2017

St Albans’ MP has asked the government to do “all it can” for pubs hit hardest by business rate increases.

Several pubs in St Albans are facing a rate increase in the thousands after the government revalued business properties.

In response, the Save St Albans Pubs group have started a petition demanding a cap on the increases.

Anne Main has also written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, saying: “Pubs in St Albans are being hit particularly badly due to the district being an extremely high-value area.

“As you are aware, the value of a property is built into the formula used to calculate rates.

“There are particular issues faced by St Albans pubs, such as the number of public houses that occupy historic buildings.

“These pubs face particular challenges in maintaining their structure, and cannot expand due to their listed status.

“These pressures are, therefore, idiosyncratic.”

She called on the chancellor Philip Hammond to do more for the pubs, which include the historic hostelries The Boot and Ye Olde Fighting Cocks.

The Boot’s landlord Sean Hughes, who leads the Save St Albans Pubs campaign, has said publicans will be closely watching what happens in the November Budget.

Mrs Main also wrote in her letter: “We have over 60 pubs in St Albans, supporting over 1,600 jobs, adding £33m to the local economy, so it is absolutely vital the government does all it can to ensure public houses are not priced out of our historic town centres, and recognises these particular pressure in the forthcoming Budget.”

The Budget will be presented to the House of Commons on Wednesday, November 22.

Meanwhile the Save St Albans Pubs group has started a petition demanding a cap on business rate increases for pubs.

The petition calls for an immediate interim “Pub Cap” limiting increases in rates bills to 12.5 per cent in England, and a review of the rates system.

The group say a similar system is already used in Scotland, and should be adopted in England “to ensure pubs can survive and this British community asset will not be lost forever”.

The petition needs 100,000 signatures to be considered for a debate in Parliament.

To see it, visit petition.parliament.uk/petitions/202436