“Freeze duty to save Welwyn Hatfield pubs”

PUBLISHED: 14:56 19 February 2014 | UPDATED: 17:00 19 February 2014

Landlord Tom Craig

Landlord Tom Craig

Archant

The pub industry is worth millions to the economy of Welwyn Hatfield where it employs more than 1,500 people, campaigners have revealed.

In a bid to stem the relentless tide of pub closures, currently 26 a week nationally according to the Campaign for Real Ale, the British Beer and Pub Association is trying to persuade Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to freeze duty in his Budget on March 19.

Chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “Beer and pubs provide huge numbers of local jobs, especially for young people.

“Last year’s duty cut made a real difference, saving jobs across the country, boosting investment and increasing confidence.

“Yet, so much of this good work will be undone if beer duty rises again. We need a duty freeze in the Budget, and I hope all MPs will make the case for beer, pubs and jobs, and support Early Day Motion 892 [calling for a duty freeze] in Parliament.”

Last year, Mr Osborne delighted campaigners with a 1p/pint cut, reversing several years of increases.

The association’s campaign has been supported by hard-pressed landlords in Welwyn Hatfield and Potters Bar, and MPs Grant Shapps and James Clappison.

As a cabinet minister, Mr Shapps is unable to sign the early day motion, but Mr Clappison told the Welwyn Hatfield Times/Potters Bar Edition he will sign it when he returns from a current overseas trip.

Pubs that have closed in Welwyn Hatfield in recent years include The Green Man in Mill Green, and The Cat and Fiddle in Hatfield.

For a full report see this week’s Welwyn Hatfield Times, in shops now.


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