HU Launches Long Live The Local Campaign To Support NI Pubs

HU Launches Long Live The Local Campaign To Support NI Pubs

03 September 2018

Hospitality Ulster CEO, Colin Neill, is today calling on the UK government to cut its devastatingly high beer taxes, part of a fight to help Northern Ireland’s pubs keep their doors open.

Figures show that between 2016 and 2017 alone, almost 90 pubs closed in Northern Ireland, an average of one every four days, a result in part to five successive years of increases in beer tax.

Between 2008 and 2013 the government increased beer duty every year. The level of beer duty in Northern Ireland, and across the UK, is now 12 times higher than Germany.

The ' Long Live the Local’ campaign is part of a co-ordinated UK-wide fight along with the British Beer & Pub Association and Britain’s Beer Alliance, to save local pubs. The campaign will be taken to Westminster MPs and locally elected politicians.

Across the UK between 2008 and 2013, when beer duty was increased five times, beer sales fell 24 percent in pubs, 5,000 pubs closed and 58,000 pub and brewing related jobs were lost.

But despite the series of draconian tax rises on beer since 2008, a new survey has found that NI people still say the local is at the heart of their community.

Some 43 percent of people from NI said their local pub was a social centre for the community, with 56 percent saying it was a place to relax and socialise with friends.

And the pub has an increasingly important role in family life, with almost half of NI respondents saying it was the best place for a family lunch.

Northern Ireland customers also continue their love affair with 43 percent saying beer is their favourite tipple.

'' Hospitality Ulster has long defended our great local pubs, and we are proud to bring the ‘Long Live the Local’ campaign to Northern Ireland. We need a cut in beer duty to support our local pubs,’’ said Colin Neill.

''Our pubs are at the centre of our communities, they provide a place for local people to go, employment for local people and are, of course, a key part of our tourist offering.

''Yet they have been completely and unfairly attacked with a series of beer duty rises between 2008 and 2013, which has really hurt their ability to attract customers.

''It is outrageous that beer duty is at its current level, it can only lead to one thing – pub closures, job losses and the heart being taken out of communities across Northern Ireland. This is having a devastating impact on pubs across the province and it must stop.

''Our campaign is also encouraging customers to support and celebrate their local pub and the invaluable contribution it makes to communities the length and breadth of Northern Ireland.

''Our local pubs need to be supported and that is the message we will be sending out strongly in the coming weeks and months.’’