The pub sector is eagerly awaiting confirmation that reports that the Chancellor is expected to announce that community groups will be given up to £250,000 to take over struggling pubs in their area are true!
The Chancellor is set to announce new measures later today to protect the economy through what the country hopes is the final few months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He will also announce investments aimed at kickstarting a recovery as restrictions begin to ease.
The Community Ownership Fund will give local people the chance to buy into endangered pubs, sports clubs, theatres, music venues and even post office buildings.
Mr Sunak said such institutions “are the heart and soul of our local towns and villages – they’re the glue that keeps us together.
Under the fund, which will open in the summer will run up to 2025, community groups will be able to bid for up to £250,000 matched-funding to help them to buy local assets to run as community-owned businesses.
In extraordinary cases, up to £1m matched-funding will be available to help establish a community-owned sports club or buy a sports ground at risk of loss from the community.
Rishi Sunak said: “Pubs and sports clubs are the heart and soul of our local towns and villages – they’re the glue that keeps us together. This fund will help to ensure vital local institutions aren’t lost to those who treasure them most.”
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), said: “We welcome this funding which recognises the vital role our pubs have played during the virus and should continue to play as the heart of our communities as we recover.”
CAMRA’s National Chairman Nik Antona said: “Our locals are vital parts of our social fabric, bringing communities together and helping to tackle loneliness and social isolation. They deserve to be protected as community assets, which is why this announcement of new funding from the Chancellor is great news for the great British pub.
“Having enough funding can make all the difference when a community group is campaigning to save and take over the running of their local pub.
“As well as this new funding announcement, the Government and local councils must make sure that pub protection policies in the planning system are properly enforced so that developers can’t exploit the pandemic. This would also give communities an opportunity and the time they need to use the new Community Ownership Fund to bid to take over the running of their local pub or social club if it is threatened with closure, change of use or demolition.
“Anyone interested in saving their local pub can find in-depth guides with all the tools campaigners need on CAMRA’s website – www.camra.org.uk/saveyourlocal/”