By Dave Daly, NW Chairman of Licensees Unite
A PUB in the heart of a community is a special place.
It is the lifeblood of an area and can be used to celebrate a wedding or mourn a loved one’s passing.
The last week has been an uncertain one for pubs as recent figures revealed the places we know and love are under serious threat of closure.
In four years, the above inflation beer tax has increased by 42 per cent. This is having a serious impact on our pubs, but I believe they can be saved by the very communities they serve.
If a community can get hold of a social club or a pub and run it as volunteers, I can see their involvement working and saving jobs and buildings.
A meeting of licensees throughout the Fylde coast took place recently and I was very encouraged by the enthusiasm of my peers.
I am adamant that through sheer hard work and determination we can turn the fortunes of pubs around. The meeting saw a huge turnout of licensees, representatives of Blackpool Council and the police who were all eager to discuss the way forward and work together to let us know the future of changes to our pubs.
This will help to plan our futures and, with prior warning of changes to the system we operate, I believe we can prevent closures.
We were the first in our area to have this meeting and I can only hope that more follow suit to help pubs survive.
I was upset to hear the St Annes Royal British Legion club faces an uncertain future and only has a six month life expectancy because of rising beer prices.
Fylde MP Mark Menzies has promised to speak to the owners and see what can be done to alleviate their problems, and his help is appreciated. But supermarkets must address their prices because their cheap costs are hitting pubs hard.
I have been running pubs for 35 years and the bottom line is we need pubs, bars and social clubs because our communities wouldn’t be the same without them.
You can be your own person inside and can talk about absolutely anything from films to politics.
I hope we don’t lose them for the next generation because they are open for all walks of life and they are absolutely fantastic places.