Labour’s Itchen MP, John Denham, told the Commons about how Enterprise Inns and Tescos had closed the Castle Pub in Midanbury, Southampton, which is now at risk of becoming yet another convenience store.
A few weeks ago John highlighted how many pubs in Southampton had been turned into convenience stores, including the Bulls Eye in Sholing, the Winning Post in Peartree and the Woodman in Lordshill.
John told MPs that this is a national problem. CAMRA have identified 189 conversions of pubs to supermarkets since the start of 2010, with another 41 pubs under serious threat. Tesco are far and away the biggest offender with 124 conversions – Sainsbury next with 21.
John went on to say that big ‘pubcos’ and big supermarkets were working together to close pubs without local people having any say about the future of their community.
The Castle Pub in Midanbury could be the next victim.
John Denham was speaking as part of a House of Commons debate on beer taxes. The 2011 VAT rise increased the price of a pint in a pub by 5p – whilst increasing the price of a can of beer in a supermarket by less than 2p. This has hit pubs hard – and by hitting pubs harder than supermarkets risks hitting the pub trade harder than duty increases.
John Denham said:
“For big pub companies, the beer duty tax is a key aspect which tips the balance away from supporting community pubs.
“This has led to the closure of the Castle Pub in Midanbury, run by Enterprise Inns, and its potential transformation into a Tesco Express. This is all against the wishes of local residents, yet they are left powerless to intervene as the deal has been done by Enterprise Inns and Tescos behind closed doors.
“That’s why today I am joining the calls into a review into beer taxes, but I also want the Government to look into the wider issues which are killing off Britain’s pub trade”.