THE co-owner of a pub near York joined celebrity publican Jodie Kidd to deliver a petition to 10 Downing Street calling for a cut in high beer duty, to help support local pubs.

The 'Long Live the Local' petition is a nationwide campaign backed by Britain’s Beer Alliance and has gathered nearly 115,000 signatures and galvanized more than 47,000 people to write to their MP, including customers of Ye Old Sun Inn in Colton, run by Ashley McCarthy.

Ashley says he felt compelled to act due to forecasts that one in 10 pubs could shut within five years if the Chancellor does not ease some of the pressures on pubs, including a reduction in beer duty in the upcoming Budget.

He commented: “Pubs are being strangled by red tape and increased taxation far more than other industries.

"Pub life is a culture and lifeline for many people, and with three pubs still closing daily we need to act – and quickly. We’re not asking for freedom from taxes, we’re asking for fair play to enable us to give longevity to this diverse industry and the jobs it gives to so many.”

Speaking about the Ye Old Sun Inn, which he co-owns with his wife Kelly, Ashley added: "We are concerned about the future of our pub because of high beer duty and business rates and also because of a culture change. Alcohol is available at more outlets, including gyms, restaurants, coffee shops and garden centres.

"Our main business is food now, not the drink. We would never manage just on the drink side.

"Country pubs are in decline. We are in a small village. We are the only place that people can meet up, especially the older generation. Once these small pubs start to go what will happen to these communities."

The Long Live the Local petition delivery comes as polling conducted by YouGov ahead of the Autumn Budget reveals two-thirds (65 per cent) of people in the North of England believe pubs are an important part of local communities and more than one in three (35 per cent) say pubs are important to their social life.

Two-thirds (67 per cent) of Northerners add that pub closures are bad for local communities and around half (47 per cent) also say pub are important to securing the future of the struggling local high street.

However, with nearly the same number (53 per cent) saying that going to the pub is less affordable than it was five years ago and more than a third (39 per cent) stating that they now visit the pub less often today, it seems that no matter how important people believe the pub to be, many are being priced out of visiting their `local’.

Asked what should be done, seven in 10 (73 per cent) Northerners said they would like to see the Chancellor cut or freeze in beer duty in the Budget on October 29.