‘The situation for many pubs looks dire,’ says York licensee

Photograph: Gonzalo Remy
5 Jan 2021 @ 12.58 pm
| Business

‘As we enter a third national lockdown for England and Scotland, the situation for thousands of pubs across the UK now looks truly dire.’

Those are the words of Paul Crossman, the York licensee who also heads up the national Campaign For Pubs.

Paul, licensee of The Swan, The Slip Inn and Volunteer Arms, said: “As we enter a third national lockdown for England and Scotland, the situation for thousands of pubs across the UK now looks truly dire.

“If the Government does not immediately announce a much-strengthened package of financial grant support for pubs and their suppliers, then the industry faces real catastrophe.

“Communities across the nation will face the prospect of losing their beloved social hubs, and the families that run them will be facing severe and long-lasting hardship.

“The current grant support is woefully inadequate even to cover basic fixed costs, which for some continues to include full property costs.”

‘Give publicans protection’

Paul Crossman at the bar of the Slip Inn

Paul, who was speaking before the Chancellor announced one-off grants for hospitality businesses, added: “For those pubs this is the most pressing existential threat, so the Government must now act by replacing the current voluntary code on rents with mandatory measures to give publicans substantial backdated relief on property costs for businesses that once again simply cannot trade.

“They must also urgently provide income support for the great many publicans currently excluded from eligibility for whatever reason.”

In another blow for pubs in England, the government has banned takeaway of alcohol during this lockdown – even though supermarkets and off-licences can sell alcohol without any restriction. Deliveries are allowed but “will simply not be economical for the vast majority of pubs” says the campaign.

It is calling for these five measures:

  1. Closure grants increased to at least £1,000 a week to actually cover costs, avoid business failure and prevent hardship.
  2. A statutory rent code including the right to a rent review, to stop unreasonable rents that don’t reflect trading conditions & a presumption of no commercial rent during forced closures.
  3. A business rates holiday in 2021/22
  4. VAT of 5% on all pub/hospitality sales, including on all drinks, to support ALL pubs (not just places that sell food)
  5. A tailored package of support, including business rates relief for small brewers & other suppliers, whose businesses are threatened by pubs being closed.