LEGAL | Staff Reporter, UK

Trade bodies urge gov't to provide six-month plan for British pubs, supply chain partners

The sector is considered to be one of the hardest hit by the lockdowns.

Trade bodies representing the UK’s hospitality, pubs and their supply chain businesses have urged the government to provide a six-month investment plan in order to “secure the future of those sectors.”

UKHospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) and Pub is the Hub have outlined details of a proposed plan in a letter to the Chancellor.

The letter called for employment support guaranteeing 80% of wages to continue for businesses beyond the national lockdown, with flexible support available throughout the next six months and a “more sustainable” round of grants in line with the first lockdown to adequately cover ongoing fixed costs, with payment “as soon as possible.”

Further requests include an extension to the rent enforcement moratorium to June 2021, a reduced rate of VAT for hospitality through the whole of 2021 and a business rates holiday for 2021/22 and investment in British brewing via beer duty support and a compensation scheme for brewers for unsold beer and returned stock.

“We are still on a knife-edge. Over 90% of fully COVID-secure, hospitality and pub businesses are operating at a loss, thousands of otherwise viable businesses in Tier 3 and Tier 2 areas had already closed. Debt continues to build to unsustainable levels and turnover is at a fraction of normal trading. We are entering this next phase of national lockdown in a critically vulnerable position,” the trade bodies said in a joint statement.

“It is crucial that the Government provides long-term financial support that goes well beyond what has already been announced. These are viable businesses that, if kept secure, can lead the revival of the economy in 2021. It is a sector that, prior to COVID, directly provided 3.2 million jobs across every part of the UK, and a further 1 million in dependent supply chains.”

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