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Featured Image Credit: LADbible
A pub landlord who previously said that he would show the football on TV using generators and have pints by candlelight in order to keep down the cost of spiralling energy bills says that he’s still considering not paying his bill after the government introduced a plan to provide support.
Kallum Nolan took over The Crown Inn in Middleton 14 months ago, and to say that it’s been a challenging time to operate a pub would be a massive understatement.
So, in a moment of anger, Kallum vented his feelings on Twitter the other day, writing: "In light of the current energy crisis, we at The Crown have no choice but to tell energy firms to f*** right off.
“200% price increases in October.
“F***ing sling it you moneygrabbing soulless t***s.
“Beer will be pulled by candlelight and football will be shown on TVs powered by generators if need be.
“You’ve taken our health service, our police, our council services and many people’s mental health.
“You’re not taking our f***ing pubs.
Despite the government announcing a package aimed at supporting businesses during what promises to be a difficult winter and Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng presenting a controversial ‘mini-budget’ today, Nolan argues that the plans are nowhere near enough to keep the doors of pubs – so vital to communities up and down the country – open.
“It’s going to be a 50 percent discount on what the offers are going to be in October,” he told LADbible.
“Our offers for October are already a 200 percent increase at least, which makes this a non-viable business – it would cost me money to run this pub.
“I thought f*** it – you know? – we will do it by candlelight.
“When we do have to show the football we will do it by generators.
“Even now with the support package, they [the energy companies] are not getting paid.
“I said to my business partner that there’s no point getting anxious about it, because they are just not getting paid.
“They are going to have to come and cut us off.
“This pub faced closure during lockdown, it was in-between landlords – loads of pubs were closing left right and centre.
“But there are loads of people who rely on this place.
“All the old boys who come in and drink their JW Lees Cask Bitter, they rely on this place – there are people who have been drinking in this pub for 35/40 years.
“I’m not going to let some d***head energy companies get it closed down because of their greed.”
Of course, there are issues with the non-payment of bills, but – as we’ve continually been reminded – there also isn’t a ‘magical money tree’ that can create cash out of nothing.
If people can’t afford to heat their homes, it stands to reason that they aren’t available for a pint either.
While the government have pledged a reduction in bills over the winter, that is a real-time increase on what was being paid before.
The problem is, pubs have been struggling to keep the lights on – figuratively and in reality – for a long time.
Nolan - a former Labour councillor - continued: “I’d rather people come together, small businesses and people in general, to tell these people.
“There’s only so much injustice can go on before you start stepping in a little bit.
“Right, what can I do?
“How can I spread awareness that this is a load of b*****ks?
“Well, I’m doing this for the business anyway, and when people come in this boozer they are going to learn about it, learn that it is an injustice, and that they are being told lies.”
So, how long do they expect to keep fighting against the price hikes?
“Well, how long is a piece of string?” Nolan asked.
“You’d hope that the government would help on that, but there won’t be.
“There’s supposed to be a mental health crisis in this country, but people are better drinking here in a controlled environment and socialising and speaking to people rather than sat at home drinking s*** cider.
“How long can we keep it up? – I haven’t got a clue, but it’s too important for the community to wash our hands of it and pack it in like loads of others have had to.
“We can’t have reduced hours – we have a 75-year-old bloke who comes in here for his two pints of bitter at 3:00pm on the dot every single day.
“That’s the only time he gets out of the house.
“I can’t close on Monday and Tuesday because there’s nobody here and it’s costing us to stay open, what about him?
“There are so many different important reasons why pubs need to stay open, and it’s not just for the business, not just for me, it’s for the people who use it.”
When asked what will happen when the energy companies come knocking, Nolan explained: “We’ll see, won’t we.
“What exactly can they do? Come knocking on the door saying we owe them money?
“If they do cut us off – great.
“We will serve beer by candlelight and stick the generators on – it’s not illegal, other people are doing it.
“Either that, or this s***show of a government need to get their a*** in gear rather than subsiding the top 10 percent of people.
“I don’t know how long we’ll keep it up for, but even with this package of support it will still cost us to run the pub unless we double the price of a pint and hope that people still come in, which they won’t.
“Middleton is one of the most deprived areas in Greater Manchester.”
He concluded: “I’ve not got the answers, I just know what’s right and wrong, which most of us do.
“What’s going on here at the minute is wrong.
“Pubs are the lifeblood of communities like this, they should be protected and sacred.
“They’re a massive part of British culture, yet they’ve been getting wiped out for the last 20 years.
“What the answer is, I don’t know, but you’ve got to stand up at some point.”