SOUTH HOLLAND: MP John Hayes says publicans under threat because of rate cut denials

PUBLISHED: 18:41 09 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:56 02 June 2010

John Hayes, MP, in Parliament

John Hayes, MP, in Parliament

PUBS in parts of the Fens are being denied business rate cuts, the MP for South Holland, John Hayes, warned tonight. As a result pub landlords could be paying thousands of pounds over the odds in tax, but are being kept in the dark by tax inspectors who

PUBS in parts of the Fens are being denied business rate cuts, the MP for South Holland, John Hayes, warned tonight.

"As a result pub landlords could be paying thousands of pounds over the odds in tax, but are being kept in the dark by tax inspectors who want to avoid paying out refunds to hard pressed publicans in our area," he said.

Mr Hayes, whose constituency includes many South Lincs towns and villages, said: "This follows a revelation earlier this year that tax inspectors were hiding the fact that hundreds of thousands of homes could be paying too much in council tax. Tax officials have kept this information quiet to save the Treasury money and save face."

Mr Hayes added: "We have already lost six pubs in our area - in Spalding the The Draymans, The Welland, The Bull & Monkey and The Peacock have closed - and the Ship Albion is closing in the near future. Meanwhile in Holbeach The Bell Hotel and The Station have also closed. If local landlords were not being denied the rate cuts to which they may be entitled some of these pubs may have been saved.

"Pubs across South Holland & The Deepings play a vital role in the local economy - especially in our small towns and villages - and are a vital part of our social fabric and community life.

" Whilst massive pub chains may be making money out of the new drinking laws, small pubs across our area are suffering from the onslaught of higher beer taxes, a weakening economy, supermarkets selling alcohol below cost price and the ill-conceived public smoking ban. The claim that the ban would lead to more non smokers visiting pubs has simply not materialised.

"Whatever people's views on the smoking ban, it has had a devastating impact on the profitability of many pubs, social clubs, bingo halls and snooker clubs across our area and Lincolnshire. Tax inspectors have even admitted that pubs may be eligible for refunds on their business rates, but pub owners across South Holland & The Deepings are being intentionally kept in the dark on this u-turn. This is yet another tax cover-up from the same inspectors who have conspired to hide council tax errors.

"Thanks to Whitehall secrecy and this stealth pub tax, local firms are going to the wall and everyday pub goers are being hit hard in the wallet.

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