I recently took the opportunity to pop into The Albion pub located on the corner of Albion Road and Nelson Road Central in the centre of the town, The pub reopened just before Christmas following a £260,000 refit undertaken by owners Stonegate Group. The company owns several pubs across the constituency and they all play an important role in their community, as well as providing employment to local people. Congratulations to husband and wife team - Richard and Natalie Garritley - for the warm hospitality they extend to locals and visitors alike.
As a former Pubs Minister, I know pubs up and down the country play a vital role not only in the economy but in our local areas, supporting a sense of community and pride. After nearly two years of difficulties as a result of the pandemic, pubs have returned to business as usual. But like other businesses they continue to face challenges. That's why it was so important the Government provided help with globally high energy prices through the Energy Price Guarantee for businesses. The Government's long-term strategy for the hospitality sector includes an extension to pavement licences, making it easier and cheaper for pubs, restaurants, and cafes to make outdoor dining a reality with seating, tables, and street stalls to serve food and drinks.
Let's raise a glass to the future of the Great British Pub.