A SOUTHSEA landlord says supermarkets must change their attitudes if pubs are to stand a better chance of survival.
Stuart Ainsworth, of The Leopold Tavern, in Albert Road, spoke out following fresh concerns by the Campaign for Real Ale over rising shop booze sales and a decline in the number of punters having a pint in the pub.
Stuart said: ‘One of the problems is we pay a lot more VAT than supermarkets do. So they are selling alcohol at knock-down prices.
‘It’s not a matter of putting prices down in pubs, it’s getting supermarkets to sell at a reasonable price.
‘It’s ridiculous how in a shop now, the prices they are selling alcohol at, is cheaper than what we can get at the wholesaler.’
Stuart, vice-chairman of the Albert Road Pub Watch, says he’s also aware of landlords who have started to buy spirits for their pubs at the supermarket rather than a wholesaler, because of the price difference.
And he says the monopoly supermarkets enjoy is causing punters to change their drinking habits.
Stuart said: ‘People are going out later.
‘It all goes back to when pubs shut.
‘People start pre-loading at home, and then come out later.
‘I’m lucky in that I get people at the start of a pub crawl.
‘But certain pubs I drink in, you go in there at 8pm, and there’s no-one in there until about 10pm.’
The Campaign for Real Ale’s call for change and Stuart’s concerns come ahead of Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement debut at 12.30pm on Wednesday, November 23.
He’ll come to the House of Commons to give an update on the state of the economy and outlines the government’s spending plans.