Jodie Kidd calls on Government to save 20,000 at-risk pubs

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Arriving in style: Jodie Kidd outside the Westminster Arms with her powerful message
Arriving in style: Jodie Kidd outside the Westminster Arms with her powerful message

Related tags Tax Long Live the Local Legislation Finance

Publican, model and former racer Jodie has called on the Government to reform tax burden for pubs by lowering VAT, beer duty and business rates ahead of the Autumn Budget on next week (27 October).

The plea comes as new research reveals if the Government increase business rates to previous levels, then up to 20,000 pubs could be at risk of business failure, putting 200,000 jobs at risk, as figures from Europe Economics suggest. According to CGA, the closure of pubs is accelerating with more than 1,000 pubs already closed in the first half of 2021, equating to five pubs a day.

Jodie Kidd said: “As a publican myself, I understand just how tough it has been for pubs across the UK over the past 18 months with revenues hit hard due to Covid-19. My own pub is still only operating at 30% of 2019 trading revenue levels.

“The whole pub and brewing sectors' recovery is still extremely fragile but, next week, Rishi Sunak has the chance to secure the future of up to 20,000 pubs that are at risk of business failure by reversing his plans to increase VAT, beer duty and VAT. I’ve worked alongside Long Live The Local​ for a few years now and this year is more important than any other year. It’s not just pubs at risk, it’s livelihoods, it’s our communities and the beating heart of our country.”

Saving the heart of Britain's communities 

Kidd has long been a supporter of the Long Live The Local​ campaign, which launched in July 2018 to celebrate UK pubs and breweries while also raising awareness of the high number of pub closures across the country.

Recently, she got back behind the wheel, driving through London in a lorry loaded with beer kegs and a clear message reading ‘20,000 pubs at risk’ printed on the side, before she arrived outside the Chancellor's (and many other politicians) favourite pub, the Westminster Arms, before hand delivering the campaign petition signed by more than 125,000 people directly to No10 Downing Street.

Campaign director for Long Live The Local​, David Cunningham, said: “Pubs are the heart of our communities across the nation, bringing people together and providing the largest social outreach service in the UK helping tackle social isolation and loneliness.

“Although pubs fully reopened in July, many are still operating at less than 90% of their 2019 trading levels and have large debts to pay and increasing costs. Despite this precarious position, the Government is planning to increase beer duty in the Autumn Budget and increase VAT and business rates.”

This campaign has been supported by a wide alliance of Britain’s pubs and breweries and aims to help pubs and breweries not only recover from the pandemic, but also accelerate the return to growth.

Stronger economic growth

Britain’s pubs and brewing sector supports 936,000 jobs, paying more than £14bn in wages. If taxes increase further, up to 200,000 jobs could be at risk.

In addition, Britain’s pubs and breweries contribute £26bn to the economy and generate more than £15bn in tax revenues, according to Oxford Economics, despite this, the pub and brewing sector is one of the most highly taxed industries in the UK – research from the British Beer & Pub Association showed £1 in every £3 spent in the pub, went on tax.

Cunningham said: “[Pubs] need help not only to fully recover but to thrive in the future which is why Long Live The Local​, along with the help of Jodie Kidd and 125,000 pubgoers and beer drinkers are calling on the Government to lower VAT, beer duty and business rates.

“In return, thriving pubs and breweries will help Britain level up by delivering stronger economic growth, new investment and jobs to help create more connected and vibrant communities.”

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