Investment

The increase in beer duty will lead to more pub closures, the owner warned

John Ellis, who owns the Crown Inn in Oakengates and the Elephant & Castle in Dawley

John Ellis wrote to Chancellor Rishi Sunak earlier in his fall Budget on Wednesday.

He also contacted Telford MP Lucy Allan, who is calling for immediate support for the struggling pub owners.

Mr. Ellis, who owns two pubs in the Telford area, said it had not been possible for him to reopen Elephant & Castle in Dawley since the lockdown ended, and said the Crown Inn in Oakengates operates reduced hours with a small staff.

He warned that the rocket gas and electricity prices and the end of the temporary rate reduction and VAT, are making life difficult for licensed trade.

Mr. Ellis said he, like many landlords, was waiting nervously to see if next week’s Budget would ‘level up’ the hospitality industry, or further punish it.

He said he was particularly concerned about the possibility of an increase in duty on beer, which is also subject to VAT.

Mr. Ellis said they put them at a disadvantage compared to the supermarket trade, which often sells beer as a loss leader, which is cross-subsidized by sales of other products.

Rishi Sunak will reveal the Budget next week

“This is not part of the‘ leveling-up ’agenda promised to us, and the addition of duty will lead to more pub closures,” he said.

Mr. Ellis said this would exacerbate the fact that many of the Government’s emergency loans to pass them on to the Covid pandemic would now have to be repaid in the quieter winter months.

“Further pub closures will lead to more spaces on high streets and fewer places where people can congregate, leading to worsening mental health outcomes and many problems in responding to targets and aspirations of the government, “he said.

A spokeswoman for Ms Allan said she had been in regular contact with Mr Ellis, and met him on December 4 and February 23 this year.

“As a result of lobbying from Lucy, and indeed from many other MPs and lobbyists, the Treasury team is aware of the challenges facing the pub trade and the specific issues that G .Ellis in his considered and great contention, “he said.

“Lucy will ensure an additional copy of Mr. Ellis’s letter sent by text to the Chancellor’s private secretary of parliament by reminder.”

Telford MP Lucy Allan

He said the Government had done much to support the hospitality sector, including one-off restart grants of up to £ 18,000, 66 per cent relief on business rates, and a reduced 12.5 per cent VAT rate until the end. of March of the following year.

The drinking duty was also frozen until March, he said.

Ms Allan added: “Leveling up is about creating opportunities across the country through education, training, skills, and – as we saw in Telford – significant infrastructure projects that can deliver them.

“I look forward to the budget building on the leveling up agenda and re-emphasizing the Government’s commitment. Like all MPs I will continue to lobby the Chancellor on behalf of my constituents in the hospitality sector and the entire local economy.”

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