There have been calls from the trade to put in place a package of measures to help the trade preserve jobs that may be lost as employers face the prospect of making immediate mass redundancies in order to survive amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “What was announced by the Chancellor will not stop job losses as companies will be very worried about taking loans to pay staff when they have zero income – for many, it just isn’t viable.
“This is about helping individual people to preserve their employment status and to avoid swamping the already-strained welfare system.
“It will also allow companies to keep their teams and be ready to aid the economic recovery when stability returns.”
The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) also called on the Government for further urgent interventions to keep pubs from closing.
It is asking the Government to underwrite at least three quarters (75%) of wages for all pub and brewing staff, enabling employers to pay staff during this period of uncertainty and estimated this would cost the Government £1bn.
The BBPA is also calling for excise duty and VAT payments due on 25 March and 31 March respectively to be cancelled to enable pub-operating companies to redirect cash directly into their businesses.
It also urged the immediate distribution of the £10,000 and £25,000 Government grants, which were announced by the Chancellor on 17 March, or underwrite them to boost cash flow.
And it said it requires the Government to underwrite all insurance costs for business interruption for at least three months and for the money to be given to insurers now or directly the businesses, to prevent thousands of permanent pub closures.
Stand by employees
In a press conference held today (19 March), Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I say to business, stand by your employees – your workers – because we will stand by you.
“[Regarding business loans], there will be more from Rishi Sunak (Chancellor of the Exchequer) tomorrow (20 March).”
On tackling the coronavirus outbreak and how research is progressing in tackling the pandemic, the Prime Minister was optimistic.
He said: “We can turn the tide within the next 12 weeks and I’m absolutely confident we can send coronavirus packing in this country but only if we all take the steps we have outlined.
“That is vital because that is how we are going to reduce the peak and once we have achieved that, and I think we will if we do the steps I have said, the scientific progress we are making will really start to come into play.”