Responding to comments by SAGE scientists that hospitality businesses should remain closed until May, and the release of Market Recovery Monitor data from CGA and AlixPartners suggesting 6,000 licenced premises have permanently closed in 2020, CAMRA National Chairman Nik Antona said:
“This is a devastating double whammy for pubs and breweries with the suggestion that 6,000 premises closed last year due to lockdowns at the same time as we’ve heard of recommendations that pubs, social clubs and other hospitality businesses should remain closed until May.
“This follows months of closures and restrictions where the sector has been singled out – despite little supporting evidence and despite the Government’s Small Business Minister telling Parliament that the hospitality industry is ‘in itself not a vector for transmission’.
“If hospitality businesses are forced to stay closed for several months to come then we risk seeing thousands more pubs, and the local breweries that serve them, going bust. Not only is that devastating for local communities and jobs, it also means that all the taxpayers’ money that has been used to support these businesses so far could go down the pan.
“It is absolutely critical that the Government brings forward a long-term financial support package for the beer and pub industry – extending the business rates holiday, ongoing grants and furlough support as long as there are restrictions on trading, and extending the VAT cut on beer to help wet-led pubs.
“Pubs and social clubs are a force for good in our communities, bringing people together and tackling loneliness and social isolation. They will be a crucial part of our national healing process after COVID and deserve to be supported until they can trade again