AS pubs up and down the land steel themselves for “Dry January”, staff from The Caledonia in Catharine Street star in a national campaign to promote the benefits of boozers to the British economy
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is today launching Pubs and the Economy, which aims to encourage more people to stand their round in the first month of the new year - as well as calling for a freeze in beer duty.
January is often a wicked month for the hospitality industry as resolutions and empty wallets rule. And the Christmas hangover can prove the nail in the coffin for a struggling pub withn 26 a week currently closing nationwide.
CAMRA is calling on the Government to freeze beer duty in the 2014 Budget following the unprecedented 1p cut in 2013 and scrapping of the much hated beer duty escalator – which added 2pc above inflation to beer tax year-on-year.
“Pubs play an important part in the UK economy and need to be protected and supported,” said Mike Benner, CAMRA chief executive. This campaign does not only call on people to use their locals in January, but also highlights the importance of the pub industry overall and encourages people to support CAMRA’s call for a freeze in beer duty in the 2014 budget. This support could play an important role in saving many British pubs.
The UK-wide campaign will feature various pub owners and staff, including The Derby Arms in Rainford and the Freshfield in Formby.
Billy Evans, licensee at The Derby Arms, spoke on the difficulties facing pubs. “When we took over in June 2013 there was one part time member of staff. Now we have five and would like to employ more, but the current economic climate doesn’t allow. So we work all hours to try to keep our heads above water.”
Amie Morris has worked in The Caledonia since she moved to Liverpool at 18 and like many students relies on her bar job to support her university costs. “It seemed a perfect way to meet different people and to gain a better understanding of the city I moved to. It is also a great job for flexibility and raising a little extra cash.”
Benner added: “Alongside contacting their MP and asking for a freeze in Beer Duty, the best way people can help the pub industry is to use their local pub during January. Many of us only visit pubs over Christmas but if we want British pubs, which are such an important part of our economy and way of life, to survive then we need to support our local all year round.”
CAMRA has issued promotional packs to around 7,000 pubs across Britain which include posters of real pub staff and landlords. But if you happen to pick one up, you'll be in a pub doing your bit anyway. Congratulations, and cheers.