Burnley pubs are worth £25.5m.

Gordon Birtwistle

Gordon Birtwistle

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PUBS and bars in Burnley contribute a massive £25.5m. to the town’s economy every year.

A comprehensive study commissioned by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has also revealed that 1,314 people are employed by the town’s pubs picking up £15.7m. in wages.

The study, carried out by economy experts Oxford Economics, highlights the importance Burnley’s nightlife still has to the town’s economy despite a number of pub closures in the last decade.

The BBPA says that with so many jobs depending on the trade in every community in Britain, the Government must think again about plans for a huge, 7% rise in Beer Tax in the Budget next week, which it says would damage the local economy and cause more pubs to close.

Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said it was too early to say what would be in the Budget, but accepted the vital role Burnley’s nightlife plays in the local economy.

He said: “Burnley’s pubs and clubs are invaluable. They are very well managed and attract people from miles around who come to the town to enjoy themselves.

“We have the street pastors who do an invaluable job as well. Regarding the Budget it is too early to say what the rise will be. We will just have to wait and see.”

But BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “These figures show what a huge impact beer and pubs have, especially in terms of local jobs. Beer is vital to the economy and pubs are the heart of our communities. The last thing local pubs and pubgoers need is a further Beer Tax hike in the Budget, when instead we could be leading the economy out of recession and creating local jobs. The Government needs to think again.”

The BBPA is urging residents to support the campaign for a freeze in Beer Tax in the Budget via the website www.backthepub.com, and urge their MP to support Early Day Motion 1475 in Parliament that backs the industry’s concerns.

However, Mr Birtwistle said his role as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Danny Alexander MP precluded him from supporting the motion.

Burnley has seen many pubs closed, demolished or left derelict in recent years. The Derby Hotel at Gannow Top was knocked down last year and the Derby Arms at Duke Bar was demolished just recently.

The Express also reported on Tuesday that demolition of the rundown former Adelphi and Reindeer pubs near the Central Station will have to be put on ice due to council cutbacks.