Our recent online survey clearly revealed a strong bias towards the right within the sector, which probably is of little surprise to many in the trade.
However, the issues that people were most interested in proved interesting.
Brexit, naturally was high on the agenda, with many operators saying they hoped a successful election for Theresa May and the current Government would help strengthen our hand as a country when it comes to the negotiations with the EU.
Business rates were the next hottest topic with operators and those that have been hit with extortionate increases will be eager for the next government to get to grips with reforming the system – however, I do fear the issue will slip down the agenda as the Brexit negotiations ratchet up. We’ll need to work as one to continue to apply the pressure and push for reform in that area.
Fewer operators seemed as keen for reform on VAT as we might have suspected, if we listened to the views of certain campaigners on the issue. Just a third of respondents to the survey flagged that as an issue that was important to them.
And when it comes to issues surrounding the pubs code and arbitration, they almost drop off the table completely, with less than 9% of operators saying it was something that was important to them. Interesting, given the level of noise that surrounds the issue.
Overall, the general election does seem a little like a foregone conclusion, with the outcome clear cut for all but the more deluded of Labour supporters – and certainly the results of our survey would back that view up. But all will be made clear when we go to the polls on 8 June.
In the meantime, enough of the politics, a more important date to bear in mind is 19 May, as that’s the deadline for first round entries in the Great British Pub Awards. If you haven’t got your entries in, you’ll be missing out on a great opportunity, so get online and get those forms filled in!