LANDLORDS in Swindon have welcomed the news they will be able to open late for most of England’s World Cup Games this summer.

There had been concern the Government would not relax rules but this week they announced that for games in which England kick-off at 8pm or later they will automatically be allowed to open until 1am.

The World Cup is taking place in Brazil and so the time difference will mean later kick-offs for fans watching the game from home. England’s first game, against Italy, starts at 11pm – a time when many pubs would be calling last orders.

After initially saying it would not support later opening, the Government U-turned on Tuesday and declared the World Cup an event of national significance and thereby worthy of a change.

Swindon landlords said it now meant that they could look forward to the World Cup with more certainty.

Paul Mellor, the chairman of the town centre Pubwatch and manager of Yates, said: “This is obviously great news and we are pleased the Government has supported the pubs over this.

“The World Cup is a big event which only comes around every four years so it is right we get behind it as it can be a big boost for the industry. “I, and a lot of the customers I have spoken with, are really looking forward to it and I think we will have a great atmosphere for all the games.”

Before the announcement was made, many pubs would have been able to show the games but only by applying for a Temporary Events Notice, which costs £21.

The decision is estimated to save the troubled industry £738,000, and, with each site only allowed a limited number of TENs each year, it frees landlords to hold other events.

The owner of the Steam Railway in Old Town, Howard Taylor, says the plans he has for the World Cup can all go ahead.

“It gives us a lot more certainty about what we can do because we know we can be open,” he said.

“This is a big boost for all the pubs in Swindon and the industry needs all the help it can get. “As long as England can get through the group stage then we are laughing. It should be a good couple of weeks.”