Pubs and breweries in England are giving a rather lukewarm reaction to Chancellor’s Rishi Sunak’s offer of one-off grants to help English pubs get through lockdown 3.0.
Pubs will be eligible for grants of between £4,000- £9,000 depending on their rateable value, which comparable to the rent that premises could charge on the open market.
Chris Jowsey, CEO of Admiral Taverns, said the 1,000 publicans who lease their pubs from him, most of whom are only eligible for the lowest grant, needed £3,000 a month of support just to stay afloat.
The new one-off grants, together with those already available, mean the majority will be getting around £2,300. “It’s welcome but it’s just not enough,” he said.
The British Beer & Pubs Association hailed a £277m “lifeline” for English pubs that it said would keep them afloat until the spring, preventing a flood of potential closures.
But it warned that the industry’s long-term survival would require a cut to beer duty and continued business rates relief.
Some pubs lost out on tens of thousands of pounds of sales due to Christmas lockdowns and Christian Mole, head of UK hospitality and leisure at accountancy EY, wonders why this has not been recognised.
It is surprising that there does not appear to be some differentiation in grant levels between those businesses in areas which were able to open through to Christmas and those which were not.
Meanwhile, SIBA – the trade body that represents the UK’s army of craft brewers, is fuming that pubs won’t be allowed to offer alcohol with takeaways, cutting off a major route to market. Chief executive James Calder said:
Sales through takeaway, click and collect and drive through have enabled many to just about survive up to now.
This reversal in policy directly discriminates against small businesses while allowing supermarkets to continue to sell beer from global breweries.
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