Skip to main content

Pubs: Tax System

Volume 737: debated on Tuesday 5 September 2023

We are ensuring that pubs remain a key part of our local communities by providing support through the alcohol duty and business rates systems. That includes a new draught relief that provides a significant duty discount on alcohol sold on draught in a pub, and the expanded retail, hospitality and leisure relief means more than £10,000 in relief for the average independent pub.

After a busy summer knocking around South Ribble and speaking to people, I have often popped in for a pint, including in Croston’s famous Wheatsheaf pub. From housing MP surgeries—as many pubs do—to being our community living rooms, pubs are absolutely vital. I have spoken to landlords, including those at the Black Bull and the fabulous Fleece Inn in Penwortham—

There is a pub crawl there for us all. They need our support, so may I invite the Minister to South Ribble—I will even offer to buy her a pint—to speak to Chris, the landlord at Longton’s fabulous Golden Ball, to hear about his business?

As you know, Mr Speaker, I regard Lancashire as my home, and it would be a delight to return to South Ribble. My hon. Friend has named just a few of the roughly 37,000 pubs in England and Wales—perhaps if we had given her longer she would have been able to name them all. All those pubs will benefit from the Brexit pubs guarantee, which means that the duty on a pint sold in a pub will always be lower than in a supermarket.

Following the question from my dad’s MP, I confess that I have been to all the pubs that the hon. Member for South Ribble (Katherine Fletcher) mentioned. The biggest burden on pubs in the lakes and the dales is the fact that they cannot find any staff or sufficient staff. It is a crisis that affects the entire hospitality sector, 86% of which say that the recruitment of staff is a major problem for them. The solution will include more affordable homes for workers, more intelligent visa rules and funding new training and skills initiatives. Will the Minister meet me and representatives of the hospitality industry to look at a bespoke package to solve the workforce crisis in the lakes and the dales?

I would go further and give as an example the truly transformational programme that the Chancellor set out at the spring Budget to transform childcare policy in this country. We know that childcare responsibilities hold back many people from entering the workforce, and it is through policies such as this, as well as the work being led by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to help people back into the workforce, that will help pubs in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency and across the country.