Hospitality and pub leaders demand support following delay to reopening

Sector leaders including the BBPA and Camra say they are “bitterly disappointed” by the delay, which will cost pubs £400 million alone.

Josie Clarke
Tuesday 15 June 2021 17:05
Alcohol Drinking – Stock
Alcohol Drinking – Stock

Hospitality and pub industry leaders have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson demanding support for their sector following the delay to the road map for reopening.

Sector leaders including the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), UK Hospitality and the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) say they are “bitterly disappointed” by the delay to the full reopening, which will cost pubs £400 million alone.

They have urged the Prime Minister to delay the reintroduction of business rates payments, which would cost the sector some £93 million in July, by at least three months.

It is now absolutely critical that the Government provides our sector with further support – else the recovery of our pubs will be over before they’ve even been given a chance.

They have also called on the Prime Minister to prioritise the additional £1.5 billion business rates support package announced back in March, to ensure eligible businesses such as brewers can apply as soon as possible.

The letter reads: “It is no understatement to say that brewers, pubs and the wider hospitality sector had been looking to that date (June 21) as the point at which their recovery could begin. This is because they cannot break even under the current social distancing restrictions.

“It is of paramount importance that this is the last such extension to these measures and that there is reassurance of this.

“There also remains a large number of pubs, around 2,300, that are still been unable to open at all due to a lack of usable outside space and insufficient inside space to make social distancing work. Indeed, across the wider hospitality sector, one in four businesses or 26,000 remain closed and average trading for those open is at just 63% of usual trade.

“We urge that your Government now delay the reintroduction of business rates payments by at least three months to allow pubs and hospitality businesses in England to recover the additional losses that will now be incurred in this period. The additional bill of some £93 million in July alone will be crippling.

“The Government should also prioritise the additional £1.5 billion business rates support package that was announced in March to ensure eligible businesses such as brewers can apply as soon as possible.”

A joint spokesman said: “Our sector is facing one of its toughest periods in its history and this latest delay is yet another setback.

“Many pubs cannot break even under current restrictions and around 2,300 still remain closed.

“It is now absolutely critical that the Government provides our sector with further support – else the recovery of our pubs will be over before they’ve even been given a chance.”