In a report published today by Parliament’s largest cross-party issue group, the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group is calling emphatically for the Government to wake up to the potential of pubs in boosting Britain’s economic and social well-being.
The 44 page “Unlocking Pubs Potential” report highlights the issues that pubs are facing, but also the fantastic good that they do, from raising more that £100m a year for charity to providing a lifeline for grassroots sport, worth an estimated £40m a year in financial and in-kind support, and recommends that the Government fundamentally reviews business rates for pubs and reduces beer duty, to help boost jobs, tourism and culture and society in the UK.
Hundreds of pubs provide services to their local patrons, including regular lunches for people and partners with dementia, Christmas meals for isolated and lonely locals, free meals for old peoples’ homes, yoga classes, literacy workshops and much more.
The British Institute of innkeeping (BII) gave evidence to the inquiry, explaining that:
“For many, isolation and loneliness are a daily reality, and for some, the only human contact they have is with the friendly face behind the bar. It may be just small talk with another customer about the weather, or a bit of lively discussion about last night’s match, but those small moments of connection with another person are what puts pubs at the heart of their communities.”
Pubs are businesses at the end of the day, but from an economic point of view, the beer and pub industry directly employs about 660,000 workers. In terms of GDP, the sector directly contributes more than oil and gas extraction or chemicals manufacturing, amounting to some £13.3bn GVA (Gross Value Added) each year.
Not to mention the £12.7bn in tax to the Treasury it adds every year.
Former BII Chair, Anthony Pender added “The business rates on our North London Pub, the Somerstown Coffee House, increased by £32,000 to £129,000 over a midterm review and the recent reclassifications. This meant that we found ourselves paying a similar rate to a local supermarket which is understood to take over £15m per annum.”
The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) also welcomed a new report
Commenting on the report, Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:
“This important report rightly recognises that pubs are much more than a place to drink, they’re the heart of the community, bringing us together and enriching our lives. They’re a force for good, putting back into society, creating local jobs and genuine career opportunities.
“It’s vital the Government continue to recognise the role pubs play in boosting national wellbeing. That starts with a cut in beer duty and fundamentally overhauling business rates to help keep community locals open. It’s now on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to listen to these calls and deliver a Budget that helps pubs.”
The BII welcomes the news today that the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group has presented their “Unlocking Pubs’ Potential” report to Government.
The report looks carefully at the good that pubs do in communities far and wide, discusses the impact that financial burdens have on the industry and recommends measures for support that could be given.
BII, COO, Steven Alton commented:
“The report shows the true value of pubs as part of a warm, vibrant and friendly industry. We are in the unique position of being able to provide our customers with much more than just a pint of beer or plate of food. Pubs give people the opportunity to celebrate, commiserate or just catch up with friends, family and even strangers instead of feeling lost and lonely, but we also provide employment and stability for local communities.
We hope that Government recognises the importance of our vital industry to the economy, but also to the social fabric of our country.”