THE contribution made by the pub industry to the town’s economy was revealed in new figures out last week.

Swindon has a total of 131 pubs, as well as three breweries, which between them provide more than 2,400 jobs. A further 1,000 are added if indirect jobs are included.

Just under half the jobs are filled by those under 25 and the majority are part time but almost 900 positions offer full-time employment. More than £40m is paid in tax and the economic output of the town’s pubs is estimated to be in the region of £70m.

The figures were released by British Beer and Pub Association, which says the totals show the industry’s vital role in the economy, a point which is backed up by pub managers.

Paul Pearson and Nicole Calver are the joint managers of the Dockle Farmhouse, in Bridge End Road, and both started off as glass collectors and worked their way up the ladder.

Paul believes a lot of people misunderstand the pub industry and do not realise the economic benefit they bring to the town.

He said: “The trade gives young people a great chance to get into work, as we can take people on from as young as 16 in jobs such as glass collecting.

“It provides them with several hours of paid work a week in between studies while giving them experience which they can use in later life.

“It is hard work as well a lot of the time so it can help to instil a good work ethic.” On top of the jobs, Paul says pubs also pay their way through taxes and duties.

“I think there is a misconception about the industry these days,” he said. “More than 50 per cent of our business is food.

“We have to pay VAT on that, unlike a lot of supermarkets, as well as beer duties. “As well as the financial side, pubs also have benefits to the community such as providing a place for people to socialise.”

North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson says he understands the importance of the pub trade.

He said: “This industry is important to the economy both through direct employment and through the supply chain.

“As a member of the All Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group I regularly raise the impact pubs have. “It provides young people with flexible job opportunities and many get career opportunities from it.”