The Campaign for Pubs, the national grassroots campaign to promote, support and protect pubs, has today published 10 Points to Save Pubs – #10PointstoSavePubs – ten key calls to the Government and the pub sector to help pubs and publicans and to prevent many pub closures.
The 10 Points include the call for an immediate announcement confirming July 4th as reopening day, for clear guidance to be published next week, and for an announcement that social distancing will be set at 1 and not 2 metres.
The 10 Points to Save Pubs calls for a mandatory Covid-19 rent code for to stop the exploitation of (all) tenants not the weak voluntary code produced by the Government, and also calls for a statutory right to a rent review for all pub tenants, all of whom will be facing restrictions on their ability to trade.
It also calls for 5% VAT for 12 months, to help pubs and the hospitality and tourism sectors get back on their feet. It also calls for the Government to announce hugely overdue business rates reform to commence by April 2021, and for business rate relief for pubs until a new system comes in.
In addition, with pubs now facing the very real threat that property owners and large pubcos will look to close and redevelop many pubs at this difficult time, a 12-month moratorium on all change of use for pubs is called for to protect and preserve valued community locals up and down the country. This is especially vital considering the very worrying recent news that the Government is considering moving to a “zonal” planning system where key decisions are taken away from local councils and handed to development corporations, something which is absolutely opposed by the Campaign for Pubs. There have even been suggestions that developers could be given “complete flexibility” by Government over changes of use, a decision which would be truly catastrophic as it would open the floodgates for mass pub losses with communities unable to stop them.
The Campaign welcomes the financial support given to many pubs so far, but much of it is not going where it needs to go. Some pub-owners, including regulated pubcos, have relentlessly demanded that publicans hand over Government COVID-19 support grants in full or partial rent, denying those pubs a vital financial lifeline whilst closed and with zero revenue. In addition, many larger pubs were excluded from receiving any grant at all. The Campaign for Pubs backs the #RaisetheBar campaign which advocates grants for pubs of all sizes, and also the #NoPubNoRent campaign which highlights the continued scandal of punitive rent demands for closed pubs.
The full list of the 10 Points to Save Pubs is:
- A definite date for opening NOW! (by Friday 19th June)
- Social distancing of 1 metre – not 2 metres (or most pubs simply cannot open)
- Clear full guidance for pubs and insurance companies to be issued by Friday 26th June – pubs need real clarity about any physical infrastructure requirements, and also about specific responsibilities and liability issues, so that they can be properly insured under fair policies which will be honoured
- Relaxation of licensing restrictions where extra spaces would help smaller pubs operate more viably and safely
- A strong mandatory Covid-19 rent code of conduct including a statutory right to a rent review for all pub tenants
- A rent-free period for all pubs, and an extended period of protection from landlords if rent cannot be paid
- Continued financial support for staff – extended fully-paid furlough where pubs are unable to viably/safely trade due to continued Government restrictions
- VAT to 5% for at least 12 months – the only sensible way to help with reduced margins, as any price increases would reduce trade even further
- Business rates reform – announced now and implemented in April 2021 – and rates relief for all pubs until a reformed system comes in
- A 12 month ban on all change of use for pubs – pubs need protection in the planning system now even more than ever
The Campaign for Pubs is urging all pub lovers to back the #10PointstoSavePubs to stop many pub closures – and to call on their MPs and the Government to back them too – and save pubs.
The Campaign for Pubs is a dynamic mass membership group, open to all who love and care about pubs. Unlike any other sector organisation, it unites publicans, pub campaigners, customers and suppliers, including some of the UK’s leading smaller brewers. The Campaign for Pubs exists to provide a #realvoiceforpubs and to campaign for a better, freer and fairer, more sustainable pub sector. The Campaign for Pubs’ mission statement lays out this powerful vision.
The Campaign for Pubs costs £25 a year to join, or £40 for a couple and members become part of a national network of those who care about pubs and their future.
Commenting, Paul Crossman, Chair of the Campaign for Pubs said:
“We need Government and others to really acknowledge and address very real threat currently facing thousands of much-loved community pubs up and down the country. We need urgent action to support and save pubs that have already incurred huge losses due to the COVID-19 crisis and that are still facing the dire prospect of hugely reduced trade going forward. We urge the Government to listen and act and back the Campaign for Pubs 10 Points to Save Pubs. We also urge all who value pubs to join the Campaign for Pubs and to help us get the message to Whitehall that we need real action now in order to save the UK’s hugely important and beloved community locals”.
Commenting, Campaign Director of the Campaign for Pubs, Greg Mulholland said:
“The Campaign for Pubs is hearing from many licensee members how worried they are with an uncertain future and ongoing restrictions. Already publicans are being forced out of pubs through rent demands, and soon unscrupulous developers and pubcos will inevitably be looking to develop and convert pubs. This must be stopped via a 12-month ban on any change of use. We now need concerted action from the Government and from the pub sector to save pubs and preserve a hugely important part of our country’s history and heritage. The Campaign for Pubs 10 Points to Save Pubs is the way to do this”.
Commenting, Dawn Hopkins, Vice-Chair of the Campaign for Pubs said:
“Pubs have been closed since mid-March and most pubs and publicans have had no trade and no income, yet costs have continued and worse still, pub-owning companies, including regulated pubcos, have continued to charge commercial rent which is outrageous. We need real action now to stop publicans being forced out of their pubs and to stop pubs being developed and converted. So we urge everyone who loves pubs, publicans and their customers, to back the 10 Points to Save Pubs!”
Notes to editors
Twitter and Facebook: @campaignforpubs
The Campaign for Pubs is a member organisation of the British Pub Confederation (the Confederation of independent organisations representing pubs and pub campaigners) and the Campaign for Pubs will administer and support the ongoing work of the Confederation to further strengthen representation for pubs and publicans.
For more information, contact media @campaignforpubs.org.uk