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‘Extend support for pubs beyond June’

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Survey findings: the BII has found operators are worried about loans and desperate for more support
Survey findings: the BII has found operators are worried about loans and desperate for more support

Related tags: Coronavirus

The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) has written to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak outlining its members’ concerns that many operators have been slow to receive Government support.

It shared the findings of its survey on the impact of coronavirus on more than 300 of its members’ livelihoods over the past six weeks. 

Operators reported difficulties accessing the Government £10,000 and £25,000 grants, in addition to concerns about taking on a loan.

The institute said 20% of its members were not eligible for a grant as their pubs have a rateable value above £51,000, while those eligible had struggled to receive payments quickly. 

Only 7% of those members who had applied for the furlough scheme had received payment for this. The survey found 11% of members had made redundancies. 

Debt fears

It said just 3% had received a loan via the the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), with many (45%) choosing to not apply. Licensees were afraid of the potential of taking on further debt when margins were slim. 

The BII hoped the recently announced Bounce Back Loan scheme would help rectify this situation and said it would assess the impact of this shortly. 

Half of members surveyed were not eligible for any additional Government support while 30% were waiting for the self-employment grant set to be paid out in June.

It called on the Government to introduce additional support for pubs – which look to be one of the last facets of society to reopen after the lockdown is eased – beyond the end of June. 

It recommended tapered relief for pubs that are able to reopen but will do so on a reduced operation.

Future fears

Licensees were concerned about bearing the costs of reopening, being able to operate profitably with significantly reduced trade and the ability to implement any social distancing protocols.

The letter concluded: “Our members want to, once again, be at the heart of their communities being the place for people to reconnect when we are through this.

“Your support is critical in protecting our pubs and their contribution to society, employment and the wider economy. We would welcome further discussion with you and your team on how we can make this happen.”

Chief executive Steven Alton added: “It is clear that while some of our members have been helped by the economic support measures Government has put in place, many others have not yet received that relief, and over 20% of our members with rateable values over £51,000 are not even eligible for the cash grants. 

“The BII is continuing to support its members as individuals, however, it is also our role to ensure the Government is made aware of the challenges that continue to face licensees as they try to keep their businesses alive.”

Related topics: Legislation, UnitedWeStand

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