Pubs are our safe spaces and more will close unless Chancellor Rishi steps in, says Jodie Kidd

SHE has climbed Kilimanjaro, raced in a Maserati and modelled for McQueen – now Jodie Kidd is determined to save the Great British boozer.

With 1,000 locals having already closed this year, the model and pub landlady has delivered a petition to the Government, signed by 126,000 people, calling for a reduction in beer duty and business rates.

Half of the country’s boozers — around 20,000 — are under threat, and Jodie passionately believes society would be poorer without them.

She says: “The pub is part of our lives. You just hop in and meet some friends, have a delicious meal and a pint.

“They really are the heart of communities. They are part of our heritage and history.”

Jodie, 43, knows all too well the struggles of running a pub, having taken over her local, The Half Moon in Kirdford, West Sussex, in 2017.

She bought the Grade II-listed, 15th-century building to stop it being turned into houses and invested heavily in renovations.

But before the business could break even, the pandemic hit.

Jodie recalls: “It’s been really touch and go whether we were ever going to open our doors again.

“It is a rural pub so we don’t get a massive amount of footfall — we rely on our locals.

“During lockdown, just seeing this beautiful building that’s normally lights and laughter and fires being so cold, dark and lifeless has been really horrible.”

Like Jodie, pub owners up and down the land have been struggling after the pandemic forced them to temporarily close.

Now there are rumours that Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s winter budget will whack 30p on the price of a pint and VAT could rise to 20 per from the current rate of 12.5 per cent.

That would be a huge blow to the industry, which supports almost one million jobs and pays more than £14billion in wages.


Jodie calls her petition a “massive plea” to the Government, adding that drinkers could buy cheap beer in supermarkets.

She said: “Customers are not going to want to come when they can get a pack of beer somewhere else. We’re going to have fewer people come through the door and inevitably that will mean closure.

“It’s going to absolutely cripple the industry. We just need that support.”

Jodie felt compelled to buy The Half Moon after realising that every other local from her childhood and teenage years had closed.

The Half Moon had earned a special place in her heart after serving her “the best Bloody Mary I ever did drink” the day after her 21st birthday celebrations.

Jodie thrives on being a landlady even though it’s a little less glamorous than her previous life as a model for Chanel and Vogue.

She says: “I go basically with very comfortable shoes — that’s my main thing. You are on your feet, non-stop running around.”

It’s the biggest challenge mum-of-one Jodie has ever faced and more than once she’s come close to throwing in the towel.

She says: “I’ve had some of the best fun, amazing moments of my life but also real tears, proper tears and frustration.

“It’s an incredible slog constantly trying to think outside the box and keep people coming in and then trying to balance these high taxation rates. The margins are so tight.”

She has previously revealed how she suffered from anxiety and panic attacks when she was a model. But her mental health has improved since becoming a landlady — despite the stress. Jodie puts it down to the cosy pub being her “safe space”.

She said: “It’s a strange thing because I find it incredibly grounding.

“You don’t have time to get anxious because you’re constantly busy.”
Jodie also believes pubs like hers, which offer a place to socialise, can help people shrug off the debilitating loneliness they have felt throughout the pandemic.

She said: “Having a chinwag and a catch-up is so good for mental health. Some of my local old boys come in every day after work, five o’clock, sit down, have a chat with one of my team members, then they go back to their empty house.

“That’s such an important part of the day for them, such an important part of people’s lives.”

Jodie is so passionate about the brewing industry that she would love to mimic her friend Jeremy Clarkson’s Amazon show Clarkson’s Farm with a fly-on-the-wall look at her pub.

She said: “It would be an amazing, fun thing to do. I think what Jeremy’s done is awesome because he’s really highlighted how blinking tough farming is.”

But running her pub comes first, and Jodie’s main focus is on preserving it for future generations, including her nine-year-old son Indio.

She said: “I feel very much that I’m the custodian of this building and I’m going to do everything in my power to keep it going.

“We have the best pubs in the world so I’m going to stomp my feet and scream and shout to try and make the Government listen.”

  • You can still sign Jodie’s petition – go to:

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