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Councils ‘letting pubs down’ with slow payment of grants

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

State help: the Government has made the grants available for pubs with a rateable value of £51,000 and below
State help: the Government has made the grants available for pubs with a rateable value of £51,000 and below

Related tags: Coronavirus

About 10% (31) of the country’s 325 councils have paid out less than a quarter of grants to eligible businesses with Birmingham, Manchester and Brighton among the “worst culprits”, new research has found.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has revealed a study showing how many pubs each local authority has and the percentage of grants that have been awarded to eligible businesses.

The research discovered Birmingham, which is responsible for 418 pubs, had only paid out to 11% of businesses. Luton, which has 66 pubs in its jurisdiction, has also paid out just 11% of grants

Manchester, which covers 399 pubs, has paid 17% of grants out and Brighton (251 pubs, 22% of grants paid) were among the areas yet to ensure the grant funding reaches the businesses that need it.

Grants paid

Other councils that haven’t paid all grants yet were Liverpool (439 pubs but only a third – 35% – paid), Sheffield has 421 pubs but the same amount (35%) of grants have been handed over.

Similarly, Sheffield has 340 pubs but just 33% of grants have been paid, Central Bedfordshire has 207 pubs yet only a quarter (25%) of grants have been paid and it was an even smaller figure in Nottingham, which has 222 pubs but the council has paid out just 12% so far.

However, the research also highlighted the councils that have paid out the majority, if not all, of the grants to eligible businesses.

Urgently needed

Winchester was the only local authority in the country to have paid 100% of its grants including to all of its 122 pubs; Redcar and Cleveland (108 pubs) has given 98% of grants; Southwark has forked out 93% of grants in an area that cover 198 pubs); Hyndburn, near Blackburn, has 90 pubs with 92% of grants out; and Southampton, which has 136 pubs, has handed over 87% of grants to eligible local businesses.

BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “Our research shows too many local authorities are not paying grants to pubs and other hospitality businesses anywhere near quickly enough.

“For smaller pub businesses in particular, this grant funding is urgently needed. This needs to be rectified immediately. Otherwise, pubs will close for good and the thousands of people they employ will lose jobs.

“Credit must go to those local authorities that are doing the right thing and getting grants to pubs and other businesses quickly.

“We need local authorities to learn from the best practice and get the urgently needed to support pub businesses as a matter of urgency.”

The Morning Advertiser ​has contacted the Local Government Association but hadn’t received a response at the time of publication.

Related topics: Property law

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