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BBPA: pubs will be lost in days without Government action

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

High and dry: the BBPA has called for more action to prevent pubs shutting
High and dry: the BBPA has called for more action to prevent pubs shutting

Related tags: Coronavirus

The UK pub industry is facing an existential crisis as a result of the Government’s announcement that called on the public to avoid pubs.

In a letter seen by The Morning ​Advertiser, British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Emma McClarkin wrote to the Prime Minister asking for more clarity on the measures.

She called the announcements in last week’s Budget​ “irrelevant in the context of the challenges the industry faces”.

McClarkin also asked for the Government to cancel all business rates payments for six months, as well as tax payments and beer duty, ensure banks are encouraged to extend credit lines and loan payment holidays, put a temporary redundancy scheme in place, look into a VAT cut, and postpone the national living wage rise to ease pressure on cash flow.

Non-essential contact

In a press conference yesterday (16 March), Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the public should avoid all “unnecessary travel”.

He said: “Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel. We need people to start working from home where they possibly can and you should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues.”

Johnson also mentioned a particular focus on London with highest concentration of cases of Covid-19.

He added: “It is now clear the peak of the epidemic is coming faster to some parts of the country than in others and it looks as if London is now a few weeks ahead.

“So, to relieve the pressure on the London health system, and to slow the spread in London, it is important that Londoners now pay special attention to what we are saying about avoiding non-essential contact and take, particularly seriously, the advice about working from home and avoiding confined spaces such as pubs and restaurants.”

BBPA boss McClarkin said the severity of the Covid-19 crisis is now impacting on pubs with devastating effect.

Clear instruction

She added: “The very existence of thousands of pubs and a lot more jobs is now at risk. The Government needs to give clear instructions and detail on the support package to rescue the sector and hundreds of thousands of jobs.

“Urgent measures to support cash flows and enable cost reductions is an absolute necessity. Government action now will save thousands of jobs and save our pubs.

“Support for pubs now is an investment in the long-term future of communities across the UK, without it, we risk losing our community assets forever.”

Related topics: Health & safety, UnitedWeStand

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