A PROMINENT landlord has described potential government changes which could see pub licensing fees sky rocket as a ‘seriously bad idea’.
Bill Ganley, who runs the Grange Inn, in Casey Lane, and the Old Cottage Tavern, in Byrkley Street, spoke to the Mail after a consultation into the plans, which could see pubs paying out hundreds of pounds in extra fees, drew to a close this week.
He said that ‘people already do not want to be a landlord’ and this could be a ‘death knell for pubs’.
“This really is that last thing that the industry needs,” Mr Ganley said.
“If this kind of increase does go ahead, it is going to put so many people off becoming a landlord or landlady.
“At the minute, nobody wants to come into the trade and this will just make the appeal to people drop even more.
“We used to see a landlord leave and hand the keys of a pub to another but now they just shut up and don’t open again.”
“I think that this is seriously a bad idea and, when we should be doing everything we can to support pubs and this industry, this is the last thing that should be approved and could be a death knell for pubs.”
Under the Home Office proposals, pubs in the lowest bands (A and B) could see astonishing rises in annual fees, of 957 per cent and 311 per cent respectively, if local authorities charged their fees at the new maximum caps that are proposed.
A pub in the current band B, the most typical band, which would currently pay £180 per year for their licence, could see their bill rise to £740.
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) revealed that it did not support a move away from the current National Non-Domestic Rateable (NNDR) value bands, a system which helps smaller venues, such as pubs, to keep their bills down.
Brigid Simmonds, BBPA chief executive, said: “The Government’s proposals could see massive rises in fees for pubs, simply to open their doors.
“While a cap on fees is right in principle, the proposed limits are far too high. It might prove tempting for some local councils to hike fees dramatically, and the removal of bands would hit smaller pubs very hard.”