The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) is calling on the Government for further urgent interventions to keep pubs from closing, amid fears that thousands could collapse this weekend.
Despite initial government relief, pubs urgently need liquidity measures in order to pay wages and prevent thousands of venues from closing, with the subsequent loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs.
An open letter to Rishi Sunak from the industry outlines that while the Government has offered some initial relief, the current package does not address the immediate cash flow pressures UK venues are facing.
Without immediate and decisive action to create cash and liquidity, thousands of pubs will be unable to pay staff wages and could be forced to close this weekend, before the initial government relief ever reaches them.
As a priority, the BBPA is asking that the Government underwrites at least 75% of wages for all pub and brewing staff, enabling employers to pay staff during this period of uncertainty. It is estimated this would cost the government £1billion.
The BBPA is also asking for the Government to cancel Excise Duty and VAT payments that pubs are due to pay on 25 March and 31 March respectively, and to begin immediate distribution of the £10,000 and £25,000 government grants announced on 17 March, or underwrite them, to positively impact pubs’ cash flow.
The association and industry also requires the Government to underwrite all insurance costs for business interruption for a period of at least three months for the pub sector. This money must be given to insurers now or directly to businesses, to prevent thousands of pubs from closing permanently.
Emma McClarkin, CEOP of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “Pubs are in a crisis today. We need urgent intervention from the Government to prevent a catastrophic number of job losses and the sector damaged beyond repair.
“We recognise, as a sector, that we are in unprecedented times. We are prepared to play our part, but whilst we welcome the measures outlined so far by the Government, they do not deal with the immediate cash flow and liquidity crisis our industry faces now.”
She continued: “As a sector, we stand ready to work with the Government on saving jobs and finding a solution. However, as a sector we cannot stress enough that the Government has just 24 hours to create a pub specific package to prevent irreversible closures and job losses.
“We have outlined to the Government the rescue package that is needed and stand ready to work with them to make it happen.”