Ian Payne Stonegate

Stonegate Pub Company chairman, Ian Payne (pictured), has congratulated the government on appointing a pubs minister — Jake Berry — after his call to urgently confirm an appointment last Wednesday during the relaunch of the company’s flagship venue.

Hosting a VIP reception, including 70 MPs, on board Thames floating pub the Tattershall Castle, after a multi-million pound refurbishment and move towards Westminster, Mr Payne iterated the significant contribution of the pub sector to the economy.

He said: “The pub and eating out sector directly employs 1.5 million people and provides indirect employment to a host of suppliers, contractors and ancillary services. We need to work hard to make the Government understand just how important we are to the wider UK economy.”

Stonegate has already invested £27.1 million in its first three quarters to June, further acquiring 50 pubs — including the purchase of Intertain and its Walkabout brand — and now employs almost 14,000 people.

The Tattershall Castle was purchased in 2015 when Stonegate took over TCG and has become one of the company’s flagships, with a 1,000 capacity and multiple venue space for both private hire and public use. Stonegate has invested £500,000 since the boat moved to a mooring closer to the Houses of Parliament.

Mr Payne added: “Given the appropriate support from the government, we will continue to make investments of this magnitude across the UK.”