Following the Chancellor’s statement on Friday, in which he announced measures to help businesses around the UK, the response from the beer and pub sector has been swift and positive, although more help is evidently needed.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “This generous package will support our fantastic staff, is very welcome and additionally gives hope to those who have been laid off. This may have saved up to 1 million jobs, but we need it as soon as possible to ensure we can continue to trade.
“While VAT deferrals preserve some cash, we still face rent payments next week before the support is due to arrive. Banks and landlords need to do more to help us bridge the gap towards this generous Government support.
“Damage is being done now, so we need help now.”
Emma McClarkin, CEO of the BBPA said: “The Government has been clear that pubs must now shut down. The safety and wellbeing of people is our priority. We stand ready to play our part in the fight against COVID-19 and in the process protecting our communities and employees.
“As a sector employing nearly one million people, the Chancellor’s support package announced today on staff wages will safeguard thousands of livelihoods and help closed pubs try to get through this difficult period.
“We stand ready to work with the Government to ensure that the support is accessible as fast as possible. There remain areas where we need further support to sustain our great brewing and pub sector through this difficult time, to ensure that all staff will have jobs to return to and to guarantee all pubs can reopen again when this crisis is over and continue to be at the heart of communities up and down the country.”
CAMRA’s National Chairman, Nik Antona: “Whilst the pubs industry will be devastated by the decision to force closure, it is exactly the type of decisive leadership that has been called for this week as many pubs hung in limbo. Pubs and the wider hospitality industry now have clear instruction that closing their doors is the right thing to do and the confidence that the government will support their staff and their business. This decision will ensure that they can emerge from this crisis in the best position to rebuild their businesses and continue to offer their vital community service to their customers.
“We’re concerned that there seemed to be no mention of the British independent brewing industry in the statements – this is a vital industry that needs to be protected and supported if they are to continue to contribute so much to their local and the national economies. The Government needs to take further measures to support and protect this important industry by also deferring beer duty.
“We welcome the news that pubs and breweries offering take away services will be allowed to remain open and will be promoting these innovative initiatives across the country on CAMRA’s #pullingtogether platform. We’d like the Government to immediately relax licensing laws to make it easier for pubs to offer take away drinks as well as food. We’d encourage any beer-lover or pub-goer to show their support for the beer and pubs industry by choosing take away services from their local pub wherever possible. You can search for local initiatives near you by visiting camra.org.uk/pullingtogether.”