Government Must Consult Industry Leaders To Save Pubs And Independent Brewing

Ahead of today’s announcement by the PM and the Chancellor’s Budget on March 3rd SIBA is imploring the Government to engage in meaningful consultation with industry leaders and take action to help save pubs and independent brewing.

James Calder, SIBA’s Chief Executive (which represents small independent craft brewers in the UK) today said:

“Hospitality has repeatedly and consistently shown it is safe and with the top 9 vaccine groups on track to be vaccinated by mid-April there is no reason why pubs cannot re-open, in full, in May. If the PM announces a phased approach, with restrictions then sub-optimal trading means the sector, including breweries needs further targeted support. Any measures should be evidence based, and this evidence provided to justify them.

“If pubs have to wait until July for a full return to normality, then many hundreds of brewery businesses will not survive without support. 2020 has already set craft brewing back 10 years, with a contraction in production of 34% compared to the wider economy of 9.9%. We need to see meaningful consultation with industry from those at the top of Government and a sensible, evidence based action plan.”
SIBA’s 10 point plan for re-opening

Ahead of the Prime Minister’s statement on Monday and the Chancellor’s Budget, the independent brewing sector needs to see:

On Monday 22nd, the PM’s plan:

  1. A swift, safe, sustainable re-opening with minimal restrictions once the top 9 vaccination groups are immunised, plus 3 weeks.
  2. No ‘soft’ opening which includes restrictions that make hospitality trade uneconomically.
  3. A recognition that hospitality has been unfairly scapegoated. All evidence points towards hospitality having some of the lowest vector rates. A recognition that hospitality can, and will be part of the engine of recovery.
  4. A minimum of two weeks notice to enable brewers to brew and pubs to switch back on.
  5. Plans to priority immunise workers who by definition cannot work from home, including those in hospitality.

On March 3rd, The Chancellor’s Budget:

  1. Targeted grants for breweries across the UK in line with the Scottish Brewers Support fund, and an extension of business rates holidays to the sector and supply chain.
  2. Cuts in VAT to benefit alcohol to 5%
  3. A new ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme, which includes beer
  4. Cuts in beer duty, and changes to the planned hikes for around 150 breweries within the Small Breweries Relief Scheme
  5. An extension of flexible furlough as demand, and confidence returns to the economy.