Shropshire Star

'Pubs are closing at an alarming rate' says MP as costs issues raised in Commons

The plight of pubs facing potential closure over "astronomically high" energy bills has been raised by an MP in the House of Commons.

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North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan seized the chance to press the Government to step in to support such crucial community businesses.

The Liberal Democrat MP said: “I've been contacted by a popular village pub that's struggling with its energy debt and astronomical energy bill. These pubs are at the heart of our local communities, and they are closing at an alarming rate.

“Would the Secretary of State consider measures to enable them to manage their historic debt by allowing them to pay it off more slowly, or supporting them in some other way so that we can keep these important pubs open?”

Amanda Solloway MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Affordability and Skills, said: “I couldn't agree more that these pubs are at the heart of our community and that's one of the reasons why I have regular meetings with UK hospitality and also think about how we can look at these bills, including things like blend and extend.”

Data from the British Beer and Pub Association showed that over 500 pubs across the UK closed their doors last year, a combined loss of 6,000 jobs.

Mrs Morgan says in rural areas like North Shropshire, the loss of pubs can mean that whole villages lose their only community space and meeting place. Some communities even step in to buy their local to save it from closure.

She said she has met and spoken with pub and brewery owners across North Shropshire who have voiced concerns over the rising costs their businesses are facing and the difficulty they are having to survive.