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Pubs welcome duty cut but ‘more help needed’

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 20, 2014

  • Bill Ganley

  • Burton MP Andrew Griffiths and Chancellor George Osborne

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PUB landlords in Burton have offered differing reactions to George Osborne’s decision to slash a penny off the price of a pint for the second year running.

The town’s breweries made it abundantly clear what a difference the beer duty cut would make to them, allowing money to be pumped into their businesses and jobs to be created, and while nobody in the industry is unhappy with the move, some pubs are unconvinced they will feel the benefits because of mounting bills elsewhere.

Many landlords have become disillusioned with the Government in recent years, and when asked their opinion on the current state of the pub, sky-high business rates and soaring gas and electric bills were a recurring topic.

Irvin Linstead, from the Old Royal Oak, in Market Place, described the move as a ‘token gesture’, but accepted it was better than a rise, which had been feared.

He said: “It’s a nice gesture, but I can’t see it dragging people into pubs. Utility bills are the main problem, and business rates are extortionate.”

Bill Ganley, who runs the Grange Inn, in Casey Lane, and the Old Cottage Tavern, in Byrkley Street, had a similar outlook.

He said: “It is very welcome but I look at the pubs I run as and gas and electric prices are a massive issue; I can’t run a cold pub.

“Pubs are also paying a fortune in business tax. There are many other factors that make a viable pub.”

Although Steve Morgan, landlord at the Uxbridge Arms, suggested it was ironic the cut came just weeks after 5p was slapped on the price of a pint of Carling, he said he was grateful for small mercies after a turbulent few years for the industry.

He said: “I am pleased it is not going up and I say thank you for that. The hardest thing to tell customers is that beer is going up.

“Pubs have been through two world wars, all the things worst to man they have survived, but the last five years have been the hardest for pubs. So we are grateful for the cut.”

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