As publicans up and down the country begin to prepare for another busy season, I wanted to update you on how we’re working behind the bar, to support your business.
We’re committed to supporting pubs and as the Chancellor announced in this week’s budget we’re cutting business rates for small businesses and freezing beer and cider duty.
More than a Pub
Last week at CAMRA's annual parliamentary reception I announced the two-year £3.6m Community Pub Business Support Programme, ‘More than a Pub’. It’s jointly funded with Power to Change and delivered by the Plunkett Foundation. We’re committed to boosting the number of community owned pubs and we’ve been working closely with business partners in the sector, on how the government can best support them.
This new money will help 80 community groups to save and take on the running of their much loved locals. Not only will they be provided with business advice, workshops and events, but they will also be also entitled to grants and loans to help cover the costs of legal fees and refurbishments to ensure that the beer keeps flowing.
To date, 60 pubs are now community-owned but as your profile piece from the 3rd March stated they are a small but quietly growing fixture of the pub landscape. One such trailblazer is the Anglers Rest in Bamford, Derbyshire. Purchased in 2013, it’s now run by over 300 people. Not only a pub, it also houses a café, the local Post Office and a much needed meeting space. This is a great example of local services now owned and run by the people they serve, giving them the power to make decisions about issues that are important to their local area.
The first step to community-ownership is of course to list a pub as an Asset of Community Value with your local council and we continue to work with CAMRA on their hugely successful List Your Local campaign.
Listing works best when it is used proportionately, but with more than 1,200 pubs already listed, this just highlights how much people value their pubs. By listing a pub as a Community Asset you not only protect it under planning law but also have the opportunity and time to gather the funds needed to bid and buy the pub should it go up for sale.
As all of us know our locals are truly ‘more than a pub’. They have a rich heritage and continue to make a vital economic and social contribution to our towns, villages and cities across the country. This was clear to see at the Publican Awards which I attended this week showcasing the best of the industry. Cornerstone Inns in Cheshire took home the Community Operator Award and are a great example of a business committed to serving their community.
I’d urge you to find out more about the ‘More than a Pub’ scheme here and wish you all the best for the coming months ahead.