More support is needed to save our small pubs

Royal Oak Pett
Royal Oak Pett

SMALL pubs need greater support from the Government to stop so many closing, according to a Rye politician.

Labour Parliamentary candidate Sarah Owen says pubs still have a vital part to play in local communities and has been upset to see time called on a number of local watering holes in recent years.

Pubs that have closed include the Bridge at Winchelsea - now destined for housing.

Sarah Owen has spoken out in support of a campaign encouraging the Coalition Government to introduce a new code to support small landlords.

Current national estimates put the number of pubs closing each month at more than 100 and much criticism has been apportioned to large chains of pub companies (so called PubCos) who campaigners say are giving landlords a raw deal - with many paying over the odds for their alcoholic products.

Ms Owen agrees and is calling for legislation to introduce a statutory code protecting small landlords and ensuring they are no longer exploited in their relationship with pub companies – a scheme supported by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the Federation of Small Businesses and trade unions.

Ms Owen said: “Some of the most popular and successful pubs in our area are non-PubCo establishments, including The Queens Head in Icklesham.

“Having worked in a number of local pubs, I know that they are vital hubs for communities in the Rye area and are valued strongly by local people. It is dreadful that pubs are closing across the constituency and county at such an alarming rate.

“Closures costs jobs, especially for young people, and hits the local economy by an average of £80,000 each time a pub shuts. More so in a town that relies heavily on tourism.”

At Pett members of the local community saved the Royal Oak pub from being turned into a private home by buying it at auction.

The pub is now thriving and being run by the same team who run the Queens Head at Icklesham.