MP meets with landlords to save St Albans pubs from rising business rates

19th January 2019

Campaign group Save St Albans Pubs met with MP Anne Main yesterday to talk about the impact of business rates on pubs.

Campaign group Save St Albans Pubs met with MP Anne Main yesterday to talk about the impact of business rates on pubs.

Representatives attended a meeting with Mrs Main and the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Robert Jenrick MP, to urge the Government to review pubs’ business rates.

The business rate relief announced by the Chancellor in his October budget provides a third off business rates for businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or below, however this reduction has not helped the majority of pubs in St Albans, who have seen an increase in their business rates.

Sean Hughes, who coordinates the group and is landlord of The Boot, Dylans and the Plough in Sleapshyde, travelled to London alongside Christo Tofalli from Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, Alan Oliver from the Six Bells and Mandy McNeil, who runs St Albans Tastes Ltd, to make the case for pubs in St Albans.

They told the Treasury Minister the announced cut in rates had not helped St Albans and “had the opposite effect”, putting further pressure on their businesses.

Speaking after the meeting, Mrs Main said: “Save St Albans Pubs made an excellent case to the Minister. The Government has to realise that this formula for calculating the rates is not helping to support local businesses and pubs in high value areas like St Albans.

“The system of taxing turnover and high property value has meant that the aim of the cut will not help in areas like mine.

“I hope the Minister will engage with pubs in my constituency and the Treasury will consider offering a one third cut on rates up to the first £51,000. The current cliff edge of businesses with a rate of over £51,000 has not helped the many great pubs in St Albans.

“Ultimately the whole system needs to be reviewed but as a first step I would urge the Minister to consider the one third cut.”

Mrs Main committed to raising the issue in Parliament after a visit to many St Albans pubs in November, and secured a debate in Parliament this week on the negative impact business rate reform has had in St Albans.

Since the rates increase in 2017, The Boot saw an increase in business rates of 280 per cent, the Blacksmiths Arms 82 per cent, The Beech House 59 per cent, Dylans 32 per cent, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks 60 per cent, and the Six Bells 87 per cent.

More than 30 pubs have been affected, and collectively they will need to sell around 180,000 pints per year to cover the hike.