More must be done to save British pubs

Around six public houses close each day as the combined impact of higher beer taxes, the smoking ban and soaring business rates hits them hard.

At the heart of communities, the peculiarly Great British pub is part of our heritage; which is a good reason why more must be done to save them, especially those in small rural towns and villages.

Over the last 15 years we have lost dozens of pubs across South Holland and the rate of decline is beginning to grow as, with the recession deepening, landlords succumb to the unfair competition from large pub chains and supermarkets that sell beer at below cost price.

In the last year alone in Spalding we have lost The Draymans; The Welland; The Bull & Monkey; and The Peacock, with the Ship Albion due to close.

Meanwhile The Station in Holbeach has closed and the boarded up Bell Hotel makes a sad sight on the high street.

In addition countless pubs have been lost from villages, where often they are among the last local businesses.

In my village, in Moulton, where in living memory five pubs once thrived, just one remains.

Surely we should save these local landmarks.

Pubs are typically small, family-run businesses which, as well as providing a hub for social groups and sports clubs, create jobs and support British brewing.

Soaring business rates – set centrally in Whitehall, not by our local councils – take an increasing toll on pubs, as they do on numerous other independent traders and small family firms.

Worse still, those that are entitled to rate or tax relief must wade through a mass of bureaucratic paperwork just to claw back some of the money they shouldn't have paid anyway.

As if that wasn't bad enough, tax drains away 33p of every pound spent on beer.

As the recession bites in our area and eats into the whole economy, the time has come to relieve our pubs and small businesses of these burdens.

If we don't the uniquely British public house will be lost forever.

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