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Much more Government support required if pubs are last to re-open

The BBPA is pressing the Government to announce extra support just for pubs, to ensure they can survive an extended COVID-19 lockdown.

The trade body’s plea comes after cabinet minister Michael Gove warned that the nations’ pubs would be ‘among the last’ to see restrictions placed upon them relaxed.

The BBPA believes that if pubs are to be the very last to re-open after the COVID-19 lockdown, it is only right they receive more targeted support from the Government to help them survive. 

It says the Government should extend and expand its business grant support scheme specifically for pubs, so they can get further cashflow whilst they remain closed. It has called on the Government to expand the threshold for grants to above £51,000 rateable value for pubs, giving the more than 10,000 pubs who until now have been ineligible for Government cash support a much needed boost.

The BBPA has also said an extension of the furlough scheme for pubs would also be pivotal in saving many of the million jobs created by the sector. Crucially, it has also specified that wavering state aid is another vital measure the Government should action, ensuring all pubs across the UK get the support they need.

Unless such vital measures are taken by the Government, many pubs will – unnecessarily and through no fault of their own – close for good and cease to exist once lockdown restrictions are lifted for them. As the heart of the community and the social hub that binds people together, this would be a tragedy.

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “The Government have said they will make decisions on lifting the lockdown and loosening restrictions by following scientific and medical advice. We all want to get back to the Great British Pub, but fully understand they need to re-open under safe and sustainable conditions – both for their staff and customers.

“If pubs are going to be the last to re-open, then it’s only right the Government gives extra support to them to help ensure their survival. We are clear that unless the Government gives specific support to pubs now, thousands of them in communities across the UK could be lost for good. And with them hundreds of thousands of jobs too. 

“As the heart of the community and social hub that binds people together, losing pubs would be a tragedy. When this crisis is over we will all want to go to the pub, so it’s vital the Government does everything it can to help them right now.”