Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting CHNEWS to 80360, or email
Cross Hills Social Club 'facing closure' due to cheap supermarket alcohol
11:00am Saturday 19th October 2013 in News
A South Craven social club says it is facing closure because of cheap supermarket alcohol.
Representatives of Cross Hills Social Club, which is situated on Main Street, have said that the club is in a dire financial situation because it cannot compete with supermarkets that sell alcohol at cheaper prices.
“We have 600 members, many of whom 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 10 per cent of our 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 value added tax (VAT) over the years had crippled pub and club trade.
“Clubs and pubs have lost enormous amounts of alcohol sales to supermarkets and discounters in the last 30 years, leading to many closures,” he said. “One of the main reasons for this is that they cannot compete on price, often having to pay wholesalers more for 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.
“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.”
Barry suggested VAT on the sale of alcoholic drinks in a controlled environment should be reduced to five per cent. He also said the Government should implement a minimum alcohol unit price of at least 60p, which he believes would “bring some long overdue fairness to the retailing of alcohol”.
Anita said she understood why many people could not afford to go out, but pointed out the social club’s prices were among the cheapest in the area.
She also said that the club had a function room that could be hired out for various events, including children’s parties.
She said: “We’d just like to let people know that they do have something on their doorstep.
“It would be sad if we had to close down and sell this building and lose yet another local.”
Comments are closed on this article.