Last Orders For An Enhanced Package Of Government Support

Trade associations make plea to Government for urgent comprehensive pub support package in light of the escalating crisis

The British Beer & Pub Association and the British Institute of Innkeeping have joined forces with CAMRA, the Independent Family Brewers of Britain (IFBB), UKHospitality and Pub is The Hub to issue a final pre-Christmas plea to the Government, backed by Tom Kerridge, for an improved package of support to ensure Britain’s pubs can make it through the most challenging of winters.

The trade associations say that the average pub would expect to take £47,000 in December. Much of this would see them through January and February when trade is typically quieter. With 85% closed or unviable now, and the likelihood of an extended period of full closure and tighter restrictive measures, the certainty provided by a proper financial support and economic bridge to the Spring is critical for the survival of thousands of pubs.

Even factoring in existing levels of support, the average community pub in England is still haemorrhaging £5,000 per month in ongoing costs* with a further £4,000 cost every time they shut down and re-open. The existing grants to English pubs, unfortunately are not anywhere near enough to cover these. To make matters worse, many pubs have yet to receive these current grants, creating unsustainable pressure on cash-flow and risking further job losses.

Many pubs in Tier 3 are in parts of the country that have been shut for several months and have already built-up tens of thousands of pounds in additional debt. These small businesses, at the heart of the communities, are at breaking point.  The Welsh and Scottish Government have shown leadership in announcing significantly enhanced packages to support their pubs and it is now urgent that the Westminster acts.

The trade associations have written to the Chancellor setting out the package of financial measures needed now, namely significantly enhanced grants of at least £3,000, £6,000, £9,000 and £12,000 per month (depending on rateable value) for a minimum 3-month period commencing from 1st January. This would be more akin to the level of support seen in the first lockdown.

Tom Kerridge of The Hand & Flowers in Marlow commented:

“2020 has been devastating for pubs and they continue to face more restrictions and uncertainty in 2021. Now more than ever, we need additional financial support to ensure local pubs can cover their costs to survive the winter months and be there to serve their communities as soon as we are allowed to. We also need more clarity and certainty from Government to allow us to develop survival and recovery plans for our businesses, so we are ready to play our part in the UK’s much-needed economic rejuvenation.”

Peter Randall of The Wheatsheaf in Crowborough, East Sussex said:

“Like so many pubs across the UK my costs are far exceeding my revenue and the current level of financial support. It simply can’t carry on much longer. We have faced two full lockdowns, increasingly tighter trading restrictions and the loss of trading during our busiest time of the year. What I need from the Government right now is to provide me with more financial support in the form of a higher level of grant to cover my real costs as well as absolute clarity and certainty on when I will be able to open and operate viably again in the new year so that I can plan the survival and recovery of my business.”

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:

“We need urgent action from the Government to provide an economic bridge for local pubs to the time when restrictions will be eased. Debt is mounting and having a personal impact especially on smaller pubs. We are at a point where good businesses are starting to fail, and publicans are handing back the keys. Extended closure and further restrictions will accelerate this without further financial support.”

Steven Alton, Chief Executive of The British Institute of Innkeeping said:

“Running single pubs across the UK, our members are in a desperate financial state.  Being closed for several months of this year and now with December trade taken from many, any resilience has gone. The current grants do not cover their basic costs even when closed and many have incurred significant wasted costs with opening & closing with minimal notice.  Our pubs provide essential local employment, support livelihoods & are for many, family homes. They are at the centre of their communities and without a financial rescue package they will now simply fail.”