Allow takeaway pints from next roadmap stage, MPs urge

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Alcohol ban: trade voices have been calling for the Government to lift the ban on takeaway pints earlier than planned to help boost the sector's recovery (image: Getty/m-gucci)
Alcohol ban: trade voices have been calling for the Government to lift the ban on takeaway pints earlier than planned to help boost the sector's recovery (image: Getty/m-gucci)

Related tags: lockdown, Takeaway, Legislation, Health and safety, Beer

MPs have backed a campaign calling for the takeaway alcohol ban to be lifted ahead of beer gardens reopening next month (April).

As it stands, pubs cannot sell alcohol to takeaway or to click-and-collect under lockdown laws in England.

The ban will be lifted 12 April, when beer gardens can reopen, which pub operators have said is unfair as individuals can freely buy alcohol from supermarkets.

The Countryside Alliance’s #UnlockInn​ campaign calls on the Government to allow takeaway pints ahead of outdoor meetings between different households from 29 March.

The Alliance has been joined by MPs Greg Smith and Robert Syms, who argue the move would “kick start the hospitality comeback early.” 

Cause for celebration

A survey from the Countryside Alliance found 47% of publicans operating a takeaway food service said the inability to sell take away alcoholic beverages had a negative impact on their sales.

Conservative MP Greg Smith said: “Understandably people are going to be meeting with friends and loved ones and it will be a cause for celebration. Big supermarkets have been able to trade over lockdown, but pubs have had to shut. 

“To kick start the hospitality comeback early, pubs should be able to sell takeaway alcohol to anyone planning for picnics. This would be fair and create an equal playing field”.

What’s more, the ban has made wet-led operators feel discriminated against as they cannot generate income amid England’s third national lockdown as they have in prior lockdowns. 

Vital income

Neil Way, steward of Cheltenham Motor Club, told The Morning Advertiser (MA), ​selling takeaway beer in sealed containers in previous lockdowns had been “vital”.

He explained: “It was highly successful for us providing vital income & our customers enjoyed draught real ale and cider as they were sick of cans and bottles. It was a vital support for cask breweries and third party suppliers. It kept me in touch with our locals too. 

“I fail to see why cafés and coffee shops are allowed to sell takeaway beverages and we are not. I also have to ask why are the supermarkets allowed to sell alcohol yet pubs and social clubs are not?”

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said pubs should not re-purpose as shops in order to be able to sell alcohol and cited public health concerns, when pressed by The MA.

However, The MA​ understands that local authorities in some areas have been lenient about repurposing, resulting in a number of pubs selling takeaway alcohol. 

The Countryside Alliance has created petitions against the ban for English and Welsh residents.

Related topics: Legislation, Beer

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