Prominent landlords and campaigners met with their MP to strive for their pubs’ future existence.

Save St Albans Pubs, a campaign group launched in 2017 against the hikes in business rates, met Anne Main to discuss reforming the tax.

Rates were raised last April, increasing the amount paid in tax for 27 out of St Albans’ 37 pubs.

Alan Oliver, owner of The Six Bells in St Michaels’ Street, said: “We want the way that pub business rates are calculated to be scrapped and started again.

“It is punishing in such a high price area like St Albans.

“Pubs cannot survive like this.”

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

Anne Main talking to Christo Tofalli and Sean Hughes outside the Blacksmith Arms. Picture: Eat Life Productions - Ruth Tidmarsh

Several St Albans pub owners and supporters of the campaign took Mrs Main on a walk around all of the pubs which have been affected by the increase.

Mr Oliver, 33, added: “She seemed supportive and interested in our fight so hopefully something happens.”

After she toured The Blacksmiths Arms, The Beech House, The Boot, Dylans, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks and The Six Bells, Mrs Main said: “When you see the effect of the business rate rise, it’s depressing.

“The tax formula at the moment is not recognising the variety we have.”

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

Landlords from the Verulam Arms, White Hart Tap, Boot/Dylans, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks and a CAMRA rep waiting for Anne Main by the St Albans War memorial.

She added: “Save St Albans Pubs have been doing a fantastic job of campaigning on this issue and I was delighted to visit many of the great pubs we have in St Albans and to have the opportunity to hear first-hand what impact business rates could have on their business.

“It’s clearly unacceptable and unfair. I will be doing everything I can to raise this issue with ministers in the Treasury and I will be lobbying for changes to these rules. I will also be requesting a debate in Parliament on this issue so other MPs can share their concerns with ministers about the impact of rates on our pubs.”

The campaigners have been backed by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), which has recently held festivals in St Albans and Watford.

Steve Bury, vice chairman of South Herts CAMRA, said: “Many of the pubs that this relief has been removed from are pubs that saw large increases in their rates bill following the last revaluation, and therefore will be struggling most to stay viable as a business.

“Furthermore, while the relief will be brilliant news and a vital lifeline for lots of small pubs, it is a temporary solution that doesn’t fix the root issue of the unfair amount that pubs pay of the total business rates bill.

“If we want to save pubs, we need a full review of business rates to look at changing the system.”