Publicans and brewers across England raised their glasses as Plan B restrictions came to an end today (Wednesday 26 January), calling for Government support as the devastating impact of Omicron on one of the most profitable parts of the year becomes clear.
Trading was down 30% on average across England during the second half of December, compared with 2019, according to data from CGA.
The BBPA is urging further Government support to combat the increasing financial pressures to ensure our pubs remain open for consumers, having recently relaunched its Long Live The Local campaign.
The campaign urges the Government to provide long-term support by extending the current lower rate of VAT, lowering beer duty, and reforming the business rates system to reduce the disproportionate tax-burden on pubs.
However, the return to office working for many and a move back to Plan A measures will increase footfall in towns and cities and boost already rising consumer confidence, according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).
CGA’s Consumer Pulse survey of 2,000 nationally representative consumers indicates more than two thirds (70%) now feel confident about visiting pubs, bars and restaurants. That figure is double the number (34%) who felt confident at the start of 2021, and a sharp increase on the figure of 52% from CGA’s research in July.
These levels of confidence are a huge boost for pubs and brewers who are experiencing record levels of debt and are facing increased costs across the board from energy through to raw materials, as well as supply chain difficulties.
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said: “Plan B decimated consumer confidence and in-turn our trade which is why we are delighted to see the back of these measures from today. It is hugely positive to see how comfortable the public now feel about returning to their local and office workers can do their bit by visiting their old pre-pandemic haunts.
“We are grateful for the support the sector has received, however, there is much more to be done to secure the long-term survival of our much-loved pubs and breweries. We are calling on the Government to extend the current lower level of VAT, lower beer duty, and introduce business rates reform that reduces the disproportionate burden paid by pubs. With the right support we stand ready to re-ignite the UK Economy.”