Backing local pubs


Pubs are vital hubs for communities in Corby & East Northamptonshire and are valued strongly by local people, giving people a place to meet and to relax over a drink or a meal. They are often the venues for celebrations that mark important milestones in our lives.

Pubs are very important to our economy too, both locally and nationally. In 2012, the pub and beer sector in the UK contributed £19 billion to the UK’s gross domestic product figures and generated £10 billion of tax revenue. Pubs employ over 1,500 people in across Corby and East Northamptonshire.

It saddens me to see how many pubs have recently fallen on hard times and their landlords have found it increasingly difficult to keep their businesses afloat. Whilst a lot has already been said and written about the decline of the ‘country pub’ (of which, I am pleased to say, many continue to survive in the rural areas of my constituency), I have also noticed the closure of pubs in the heart of communities in Corby.

Earlier this year I carried out a local survey, contacting those who run pubs across Corby and East Northamptonshire in order to understand the issues that they face and to encourage them to tell me about the actions that they believe would help to address these.

I found out that:

  • In the last year, the participating pubs have seen their profits fall on average by 6.41%

  • 73% of respondents had taken some measures to reduce costs or protect their business in other ways. The most common approach to achieving this has been to seek to bring down labour costs:

    • 67% have reduced the number of hours worked by staff;

    • 40% have reduced the actual number of staff employed in the pub which is particularly worrying given the relatively high levels of unemployment in this constituency;

    • 13% have decreased costs in other ways, for example stopping satellite TV subscriptions or cancelling live entertainment

  • The three factors that landlords and ladies believe have had the biggest negative impact on their business are:

    • The levels of VAT and duty on alcohol (80%)

    • Supermarket alcohol sales – often at heavily discounted rates (64%)

    • Breweries/PubCos squeezing profits by increasing their prices to pubs in a way that is disproportionate to the associated costs (27%)

A report on the findings of my survey can be downloaded here.

As a result of listening to the views of those who responded to this survey, I will talk to both the Minister and Shadow Minister with responsibility for pubs policy. I will ask what measures they plan to implement to support local pub businesses here and I will share their responses with all those who have taken part in this survey.

Furthermore, I have asked George Osborne, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether or not he recognises the importance of the problems that pubs face and what fiscal help the pub trade can expect from the government during this Parliament.

Locally, I will continue to work with local licensees and other businesses, together with the police and other agencies, on my night-time economy initiative to encourage a vibrant night-time economy in the constituency. This will contribute further jobs here and enable people to enjoy a good night out here, whilst doing this in a way that creates a safe environment and is respectful of others living in the area.


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