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Sale of cheap booze threatening Cross Hills club
8:50am Friday 18th October 2013 in Keighley
A South Craven social club says it is facing closure because of cheap supermarket booze.
Representatives of Cross Hills Social Club in Main Street, revealed the centre is in a dire financial situation because it cannot compete with shops selling alcohol at discounted prices.
“We have 600 members who cannot afford to come out so drink at home because they can get cheaper alcohol in supermarkets,” said club secretary, Anita Robertson. “This is seriously affecting our business.
“We have been open since 1919 and, unfortunately, as things stand now, we are looking at possible closure. The next 12 months are critical.”
“Only about ten per cent of our 600 members use the club,” added Anita. “We provide entertainment on a Saturday night and we get about 30 people in, most of whom are regulars. Our takings are down so much that we make just enough to pay for the beers.”
Club treasurer, Barry Reay, who has been employed at the club for 30 years, said changes in VAT over the years had crippled the pub and club trade.
“Clubs and pubs have lost enormous amounts of alcohol sales to supermarkets and discounters in the past 30 years, leading to many closures,” said Barry. “One of the main reasons for this is they cannot compete on price, often having to pay wholesalers more for their drinks than supermarkets’ retail price.
“Because supermarkets pay no VAT on food sales, this gives them a ‘tax break’, allowing them to subsidise the price of their alcoholic drinks.
“This tax advantage has gradually eroded the competitiveness of clubs and pubs as the years have gone by, especially as VAT has increased from about eight per cent in the 1970s to 20 per cent today.”
Mr Reay added “Clubs and pubs play a unique and valuable community role, affording safe, controlled, sociable drinking, as well as hosting a wide variety of community-oriented events and activities that add considerably to local civic life at no cost to public monies.”
The club has a function room to hire for events, including children’s parties.
Anita added: “We’d just like to let people know they do have something on their doorstep. It would be sad of we had to close down and sell this building and lose yet another local.”
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