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Revealed: the Local Authorities letting pubs down

New research by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has revealed that there are many parts of the country where pub businesses are yet to receive grant funding from local authorities to help them survive the COVID-19 lockdown.

The research found that Birmingham, which has 418 pubs, but where only 11% of businesses have been paid their grants, Manchester (399 pubs, 17% of grants paid-out) and Brighton (251 pubs, 22% of grants paid-out) were among the areas yet to ensure the grant funding reaches those  businesses that need it.

The UK Government announced its grant support scheme in March whereby pubs and other businesses with rateable values below £15k and £51k would receive grants of £10k and £25k respectively to help see them through the Coronavirus crisis.

When announced, the BBPA greatly welcomed the grant support offered by the Government, stating it would safeguard thousands of livelihoods and help closed pubs try to get through this difficult period.

However, in some areas the system has been slow and sluggish, with Local Authorities not paying out grants to pubs and other businesses with the urgency needed. Particularly as it has been said pubs will be ‘among the last’ to see restrictions placed upon them relaxed, making vital grant support for pubs even more critical.

In its research, which compared the number of pubs in Local Authorities to the percentage of businesses they had paid grants to, other Local Authorities the BBPA found alongside Birmingham, Manchester and Brighton that were slow to pay grants were:

  • Liverpool (439 pubs, but where only 35% of grants have been paid out to eligible local businesses)
  • Sheffield (421 pubs, but only 35% of grants have been paid out to eligible local businesses)
  • Bradford (340 pubs, but only 33% of grants have been paid out to eligible local businesses)
  • Central Bedfordshire (207 pubs, but only 25% of grants have been paid out to eligible local businesses)
  • Nottingham (222 pubs, but only 12% of grants have been paid out to eligible local businesses)

The BBPA also found Local Authorities in its research who were exemplary in paying grants to their local businesses including pubs, these were:

  • Winchester (122 pubs, where 100% of grants have been paid out to eligible local businesses)
  • Redcar and Cleveland (108 pubs, where 98% of grants have been paid out to eligible local businesses)
  • Southwark (198 pubs, where 93% of grants have been paid to eligible local businesses)
  • Hyndburn, near Blackburn (90 pubs, where 92% of grants have been paid to eligible local businesses)
  • Southampton (136 pubs, where 87% of grants have been paid to eligible local businesses)

The BBPA is pressing the Government and those Local Authorities who aren’t paying grants to pubs swiftly to follow the lead of those who are, by ramping up the delivery of their grant payments, or pubs in their communities will be forced to close for good and thousands of jobs could be lost.

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “Our research shows that too many Local Authorities are not paying grants to pubs and other hospitality businesses anywhere near quickly enough. For smaller pub businesses in particular this grant funding is urgently needed.

“This needs to be rectified immediately. Otherwise, pubs will close for good and the thousands of people they employ will lose jobs.

“Credit must go to those Local Authorities who are doing the right thing and getting their grants to pubs and other businesses quickly. We need the Local Authorities to learn from best practice and get the urgently needed support to pub businesses as a matter of urgency.”

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