Pubs facing bitter blow of price rise

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SPALDING landlord Pete Williams says more pubs will go to the wall if another 13p is slapped on the price of a pint.

The Government aims to double the cost of pub licences in a radical overhaul of the licensing system which will allow councils to set their own fees.

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers says the shake-up will cost the pub industry £100million a year, put another 13p on the price of a pint and kill off many pubs.

Mr Williams, of the Punchbowl, in New Road, said it appears councils will decide whether to impose the higher charges – and if they do, more and more pubs will shut for good.

He said: “Beer is around about £3 a pint and 60 pence of that already goes to the VAT man.

“Ten years ago, if a pint cost £2, we would probably make £1 a pint. Now it’s £3 we make less than £1 a pint.”

Mr Williams says the smoking ban, successive rises in the cost of beer and prohibitive costs of pub licences for Sky TV have all contributed to Britons changing their lifestyles.

Instead of going out people are staying at home and drinking cheap supermarket beer.

Mr Williams said: “People across the country have utterly and completely changed their lifestyles.

“They have got so many home amenities – internet, TV, great food from the supermarket – and they go to work and they go home.

“The lifestyle in England has changed to the point where it is such a struggle just to get people out of the house.

“Weekends are bad enough but on weekdays Spalding is just a ghost town.”

He said Sky TV licences for pubs have quadrupled to £13,000 and he can no longer afford one.

Mr Williams said he cannot buy beer for his pub as cheaply as supermarkets sell it.

He said: “Supermarkets are responsible for the demise of pubs as much as the Government.

“You can’t blame the consumer. The consumer is going to go where they can get the best deal.

“It’s impossible to do a pub crawl in Spalding any more with the Bass House gone, Shooters gone and the Peacock gone – and who knows who is going to be next?”

l What do you think about the proposed rise? What can pubs do to keep their customers? Email spaldingeditor@jpress.co.uk