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Government needs to provide additional financial support for pubs caught in local lockdowns

BBPA responds to PM announcement on publication of regulations outlining local authorities and central Government new powers to close whole sectors and premises following local covid outbreaks

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the leading trade association representing brewers and pubs, has today responded to the Prime Minister’s ‘Contain Framework’ announcement calling for consultation and compensation for pubs in the event of further local lockdowns.

Whilst welcoming the 1st August go-ahead for indoor performances to a live audience, small wedding receptions, bowling, casinos and other leisure activities, the BBPA called for safeguards to be put in place to protect pubs from disproportionate measures and inconsistent enforcement action at local level.

The sector is still awaiting a response to their letter sent to Business Secretary Alok Sharma on 7th July calling for compensation for any pub businesses subject to closure due to COVID-19 following the Leicester lockdown announcement. The letter to Sharma read:

‘In Leicester, with the local lockdown put in place, hundreds of pubs at very short notice are unable to open having invested in a range of safety measures and brought staff out of furlough. Continuing with no income, potentially for several more weeks, could have a devastating impact on their survivability. This includes many pubs just outside of the actual lockdown area that also closed to avoid those in the lockdown area travelling to them.

These pubs are fast running out of cash and it is critical for them, along with future businesses impacted by local lockdowns, that there is a focused compensation scheme put in place as a matter of urgency. The pub sector, and the brewing industry that supports it, remain committed to playing our part in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic but very significant additional cost plus additional periods with no income, at short notice, on top of the initial period of lockdown will be devastating for pubs, 85% of which are SMEs.

As part of the early warning system for flare-ups of the virus, and through the contact tracing measures put in place, pubs continue to have a crucial role to play. To ensure early action, however, which will be essential on containing any local outbreaks, confidence that businesses will not go out of business for good by playing their part and through no fault of their own is vital to the success of this. Reassurance of compensation for any closures due to COVID-19 would deliver this and ensure that businesses are motivated and supported to do the right thing.’ 

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

‘Pubs must be properly consulted ahead of local powers being used or Ministerial decisions being taken to close down their businesses or restrict trading beyond the already agreed COVID-secure 1 metre plus mitigation measures. Any closure direction must be accompanied with a compensation package to support pub businesses held in lockdown. Local pubs have already been hit hard by more than three months of closure and are only now just at the start of their long road to recovery. Any further setbacks without additional financial support may lead to local pubs and local jobs being lost for good jobs. The Government cannot allow this to happen”

ENDS

 

Notes to editors:

The beer and pub sector in the UK employs a total of 900,000 people – 600,000 of which are directly employed in pubs.

The British Beer & Pub Association is the leading body representing Britain’s brewers and pub companies. The Association is more than a century old and was originally founded as the Brewers’ Society in 1904. Our members account for some 90 per cent of beer brewed in Britain today, and own around 20,000 of the nation’s pubs.

For further information, please contact:

David Wilson, Public Affairs Director, BBPA: 07557 405815

Nick Lawrie, Digital Communications Manager, BBPA: 07824 359 013

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