Beer and pubs create jobs and boost Norwich’s economy, new report finds
Beer and pubs provide thousands of jobs in Norwich, especially for young people, and generate �54m for the local economy, a survey has revealed ahead of this month's budget.
More than 2,660 either full-time or part-time jobs in the city are dependent on the pub and brewing trade and with youth employment at an all-time high, 821 of those jobs are currently filled by people under 25.
There are 171 pubs in the area covered by the Norwich South and Norwich North parliamentary constituencies and five breweries.
Farther afield, thousands more people work in pubs and breweries in Broadland, South Norfolk and Great Yarmouth.
The figures have been released before the chancellor's budget, which is expected to further hit pubs with an increase in beer tax.
And with so many local jobs dependent on the industry, the British Beer and Pub Association has called on the government to scrap plans for big increases on March 21.
Meanwhile, council bosses and city publicans today added their voices to the debate and called on the government for help.
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Phil Cutter, landlord at the Murderers pub in Timberhill in the city centre, said the government should take into account the importance of pubs for local jobs and the economy.
He said: 'If duty goes up in the budget then the BBPA said that the industry could lose 300,000 jobs, which is a real concern.
'The industry is so reliant on the price of the product.
'We have just gone through a price increase from the breweries, and to have another 6pc added on with the budget, it would mean fewer people being employed in the industry.
'If, with the government's help, we could encourage people to come back to pubs, then we could employ more people.
'That's an incentive for the government.'
He said that fewer people worked at city pubs now than even five years ago.
'We used to have five or six more people working at our pub and if you times that by the number of pubs in the city, then you are looking at 1,000 fewer people being employed in the industry now compared to then.'
Clive Hitchens, who manages the Lamb Inn in Norwich city centre, said the recession meant more young people were applying for jobs at pubs across the city.
He said: 'When we reopened we hired a lot of young people. And because of the current state of the economy there are now many more young people looking for work.
'There are good job prospects for people who start at pubs and have degrees and other qualifications, who can go on to be managers.'
Emily Brown, supervisor at the Ribs of Beef in Wensum Street, said they employed 16 full and part-time staff and said careers in the industry were very popular with young people.
Ann Steward, pictured far right, Norfolk County Council's Cabinet member for economic development, said: 'Pubs, beer and brewing all have an important place in the Norfolk economy.
'The pub on a street corner or in the heart of a village is not only important to the community and for local jobs, it is also an essential part of the English way of life that draws in tourism.
'Here in Norfolk, the strength of free trade pubs has encouraged variety and local specialist brewers.
'We may not have a Greene King or an Adnams, but there are 33 breweries in Norfolk, and some, such as Woodfordes and Wolf, are starting to make their mark in other parts of the country.'
The new figures were compiled by economy experts Oxford Economics for the BBPA and show the vital role the industry plays and, for the first time, the number of young people employed by the trades.
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: 'Beer and pubs provide huge numbers of local jobs, especially for young people. We cannot afford another beer tax increase.
'The chancellor should recognise the vital role the industry plays in providing job opportunities for people of all ages in every community, but especially among young people.
'We need a duty freeze in the Budget and I hope all MPs will make the case for pubs and jobs.'
With the Budget looming, industry and consumer groups have warmly welcomed the tabling of an early day motion in Parliament calling for a rethink on new huge hikes in beer tax.
The EDM, tabled by the chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group Andrew Griffiths MP, who represents the brewing town of Burton, already has the support of MPs from the three main parties, including Greg Mulholland MP, chairman of the All Party Save the Pub Group.
The Evening News has been urging customers to return to pubs in our Love your Local campaign.
To see more stories from the campaign visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourlocal.
Have you got a pub success story for the Evening News? Call Evening News reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pub of The Week – see page 16.