Hospitality Ulster Launches 'Long Live The Local' Campaign
Hospitality Ulster CEO Colin Neill has called upon the UK government to cut its beer taxes as part of a fight to help Northern Ireland’s pubs keep their doors open.
According to a new press release on Hospitality Ulster's website, between 2016 and 2017, almost 90 pubs closed in Northern Ireland, an average of one every four days, as a result in part to five successive years of increases in beer tax.
A Co-ordinated Fight
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.
Despite rises in UK beer taxes since 2008, Hospitality Ulster revealed a new survey has found that 43% of people from Northern Ireland said their local pub was a social centre for the community, with 56% saying it was a place to relax and socialise with friends. Furthermore, almost half of the survey's respondents said the local pub is the best place for a family lunch.
Defending Local Pubs
Commenting on the "Long Live the Local" campaign, Neill said, "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.
''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."
© 2018 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.