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Pub bosses fight back against credit crunch
28 January 2009

It remains a difficult time for Southport's pubs and resort MP John Pugh is continuing to fight to keep them open.

The Oast House on Stanley Street is currently advertising for a tenant and the Old Ship Inn on Eastbank Street closed its doors in the last few days.  It is not known if the closure will be a temporary or permanent measure.

The Arion on Kenilworth Road and the Herald on Portland Street have also recently closed.

Meanwhile the Blue Anchor on Tithebarn Road is back open with a new landlord.

Ian Mather, who also runs the Plough in Crossens, says he hopes to take the pub back to its roots as a friendly, community local.

“I have had the Plough for three years and turned that around and now I want to improve the Blue Anchor, but in ways that customers are asking for,” Ian said.  “I want it to have a friendly atmosphere.”

Liberal Democrat Mr Pugh says he is “only too pleased” to see pubs reopening in the current economic climate.

“I greatly admire this kind of positive hard-working attitude.  The refusal to passively accept challenging economic circumstances will play an essential part of the future of local businesses, and pubs in particular,” he said.

"I am continuing to work with CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) and landlords to safeguard the future of the local pub."

Mr Pugh has also met with Adrian Davies, landlord of the Falstaff on King Street to discuss the current situation.

Adrian believes the Government has not done enough to help pubs survive the smoking ban.

“The fact the Government put this law in place without giving any support to pubs is crazy,” he said.

“I think local government should get involved and assess every individual pub to see whether it is viable for an outside smoking area, funded by them.  The tenant could pay them back over a period of time.”

Ian Garner, regional director of CAMRA, says increasing beer tax and inflexible breweries, on top of cheap alcohol deals in supermarkets, is causing major problems for pubs.

CAMRA is supporting a national campaign – 'Axe The Beer Tax – Save The Pub' – to help prevent more locals from closing.

By Natasha Robson



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