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MP backs ‘life line’ for pubs and brewers

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PRESELI MP Stephen Crabb has added his voice to calls to cut duty for draught beer sold in pubs to help the industry recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The plan, which would see pubs pay lower duty on draught beer than in paid by supermarket operators on bottles and cans, would target support to Britain’s pub trade.

Stephen Crabb said: “Pembrokeshire’s pubs are so important to our communities but have suffered very badly during lockdown. While supermarkets have been trading healthily throughout the pandemic, pubs have been forced to close and must adopt many expensive measures to keep the public covid safe on reopening.

“Because 98% of all beer drunk in pubs is brewed in Britain, and beer accounts for almost half of all drinks they sell, cutting duty on draught beer would target help and support to pubs.”

Stephen Crabb was one of 76 Conservative MPs who wrote to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak asking him to introduce a lower draught beer duty on beer sold in pubs and clubs.

Keith Bott, owner of Titanic Brewery & former Chair of SIBA, the Society of Independent Brewers, who is coordinating the campaign said: “I would like to thank Stephen and his colleagues for giving their support to Britain’s pubs and breweries by backing a Draught Beer Duty cut. This has been an extremely difficult year, and with the extra costs of being covid safe, many pubs are facing an uncertain future. Cutting duty on draught beer will get support into the hands of publicans and Brewers and allow them to survive and invest in their futures”

Stephen added: “The Government has already provided huge financial assistance to businesses across the country, but a Draught Beer Duty cut could really help by boosting investment and creating new jobs in the hospitality sector. I’m looking forward to enjoying a visit to my local as soon as we can, and I would urge everyone to get out and enjoy a pint of great British beer in their local community pub”

At the end of last year Stephen Crabb joined calls for the Chancellor to reconsider changes to a scheme which has transformed the small brewing sector in the UK.

In a joint letter to Rishi Sunak, Stephen Crabb argues that changing Small Breweries’ Relief (SBR) will put a great British success story under threat at a time when many businesses are struggling to survive.

Under the current system, small breweries pay a proportionate amount of tax on the small amount of beer they produce compared to the global companies that dominate the industry. Up to 5,000 hectolitres – which is about 900,000 pints – they pay 50% of beer duty to the Treasury.

Pembrokeshire is home to a number of small breweries, including Bluestone Brewing, Gwaun Valley Brewery and the newly established St Davids Old Farmhouse Brewery.

Speaking in December, Stephen Crabb said: “Our small independent brewers are a real success story, and the support provided through Small Breweries’ Relief is key to their future. These businesses have been severely impacted by the Covid pandemic and now is not the time to be making changes to this scheme.”

At the time, Chief Executive of the Society of Independent Brewers, James Calder said: “SBR has been a great success, revolutionising brewing in the UK and allowing more brewers to start up and compete against the global companies that dominate beer in our country. The Chancellor is forcing changes on small breweries, which we have not asked for and do not support. The Treasury needs to urgently reverse course, not reduce the 50% threshold below 5,000hl and give the industry something to cheer about.”

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Fishguard RNLI launch to attend injured fisherman 13 miles offshore

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FISHGUARD’s RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat launched early on Monday (Jan 17), with a full volunteer crew, to rendezvous with an Irish scalloper fishing boat which had an injured crew member aboard. The 14-metre fishing boat ‘ Golden Fleece’ had requested assistance by making radio contact with HM Coastguard. 

The lifeboat launched at 7.30am in calm conditions and headed to the fishing boat positioned approximately 13 miles north of Cemaes Head. Once on location the injured fisherman, who had suffered a significant finger injury, was transferred to the lifeboat. No further medical assistance was necessary from the lifeboat crew but he was kept under observation during the return journey to Fishguard where he was transferred to an awaiting ambulance upon arrival at 8.30am.   

 

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Brains’ £100 million sell-off plan includes local pubs in Pembrokeshire

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SA BRAINs is close to completing a £100m deal which will see the sale of 100 Wales pubs, including Pembrokeshire locals, it has been reported.

It is reported that Wales most prominent brewers will sell the freeholds to 100 of it’s pubs to a consortium.

Brains currently has a portfolio of 200 pubs across Wales and the South West.

Sources within the pub industry said that the transaction could be signed in the next few days.

The deal is to be made with Song Capital and Cerberus Capital Management, the former owner of Admiral Taverns.

The deal, which is thought to be around the £100m mark, is expected to be used by the Brains’ family shareholders to pay down debt.

The hospitality sector has been hit severely by the Coronavirus pandemic, being forced to close for long periods at a time and then reopening with strict restrictions.

In 2020, Brains struck a deal with Marston’s to operate 141 of its pubs, under the Welsh brewers brand, following financial pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Six Pembrokeshire pubs are earmarked to be included in the transaction; The Ferry Inn, St Dogmaels, Crown Inn, Tenby, Grove Hotel, Narberth, Waterman’s Arms, Pembroke, Harbour Inn, Solva and The Galleon, Broad Haven.

The sale will see the Brains pub estate as a family-owned brewer with a small residual pub portfolio.

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St Clears’ McDonald’s opening delayed for a week

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McDonald's sign

THE OPENING of the new 100-seater McDonald’s in St Clears has been delayed by a week. 

The restaurant, which will be built along the main approach road to Pembrokeshire, aimed to open its doors on Wednesday, January 19. 

However, the company has confirmed that the opening has been postponed until Wednesday, January 26. 

The new McDonald’s will join Haverfordwest and Pembroke Dock McDonald’s as the only members of the company located west of Carmarthen. 

It hoped to provide over 80 full and part time jobs due to being open around the clock. They hosted a recruitment day in December 2021. 

The original applications had previously stated that the McDonald’s would be open 24 hours a day. A premises licence application is currently being made to the County Council for the “provision of late-night refreshments” which, if accepted, would allow the restaurant to be open 24 hours a day.

It will open on the opposite side of the road to Travelodge and Starbucks, which replaced the Little Chef restaurant in 2017.

The restaurant was initially going to include a separate building which would have accommodated a Costa Coffee. However, it will now host a Greggs. 

Alongside this, planning permission has been granted separately for a petrol station with six electric charging points.

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