A survey of nearly 1,000 Brits by global intelligence platform Streetbees found that just 17% of respondents had faith in the Government to save community venues such as pubs from closure during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
A further 61% of those quizzed said they don’t have faith in the Government to protect pubs, while 21% “aren’t sure”.
What’s more, two-thirds (65%) don’t believe enough is currently being done to ensure pubs survive the pandemic, with just 13% saying current Government measures are sufficient and almost a quarter (22%) undecided.
These findings follow reports that some 446 pubs “vanished” from communities in England and Wales last year – approximately one every 20 hours – according to analysis from real estate advisor the Altus Group.
What’s more, the data comes after chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed that, despite forecasts of further economic decline, there would be no additional financial support for businesses hit by coronavirus restrictions until the Budget on 3 March – an announcement that prompted accusations he was “out of ideas”.
A number of hospitality sector stakeholders have, meanwhile, revealed their fiscal wish lists ahead of the Chancellor's next Budget.
Public backing for hospitality minister
In light of these findings, more than half (57%) of those questioned by Streetbees agreed the hospitality sector should have a dedicated cabinet minister.
However, while a selection of cross-party MPs also supported a motion to appoint a minister to represent the hospitality sector following a 90-minute debate on 11 January, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has since dodged further probes on whether the notion would be taken further.
“We are doing everything we can to support them [hospitality businesses],” Johnson said in response to Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne North Catherine McKinnell on 13 January. “The Chancellor, the business secretary and I meet regularly with representatives of that sector.
“We have given them all the grants, the recent increase in grants that you know of, the recent £3,000 grants specifically for the hospitality sector, on top of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Bounce Back Loans, the furlough scheme and many, many other forms of support.
“But the best thing for the hospitality sector is really that we all work together to defeat the virus in the way I am absolutely certain we can with disciplined action and the vaccine roll out and get them back on their feet.”