Fuller’s closes the majority of its city sites

By Rebecca Weller contact

- Last updated on GMT

Fuller’s closes majority of its city pubs: operator calls for suspension of business rates and extension on VAT reduction
Fuller’s closes majority of its city pubs: operator calls for suspension of business rates and extension on VAT reduction

Related tags: Fullers, Coronavirus, Finance, Social responsibility

Pub operator and brewers, Fuller’s, has closed the majority of its city pubs temporarily and called on the Government to provide immediate suspension of business rates and an extension on VAT reduction.

This comes after many organisations and operators last week called on the Government to provide more support for the industry despite the Chancellor having said there are “existing support measures”​ for the sector.

Fuller, Smith & Turner chief executive Simon Emeny said: “Quite frankly, it’s just bewildering, we are right back to where we were in March 2020 with the Government keeping hospitality open, while effectively telling the public not to socialise.

“December should be our busiest trading period – and the revenue generated during this time is crucial for the sector.

Unviable to stay open

“The result is that we have had to take the decision to temporarily close the majority of our City pubs, as it is unviable to keep them open against the backdrop of falling customer numbers and incredibly low footfall.

“If hospitality is to recover quickly, we cannot afford to lose our team members. We need to keep them in hospitality, and we need to keep our arms round them while they again face empty pubs during this hopefully brief, but difficult period.

“To do that, we need the immediate suspension of business rates and an extension of the VAT reduction, to compensate for lost trade and ensure we can keep paying our team members while our pubs are closed, in the absence of a furlough scheme.”

Fuller’s call for support from the Government followed an estimated loss in revenue of £297m​ for hospitality businesses this Christmas by the British Beer and Pub Association last week.

Ride out the current spike 

Emeny added: “With the right support, we will keep our people and we will, once again, be ready to hit the ground running when trading returns to a sustainable level.

“Hospitality is a huge contributor of tax and employment – it is in everyone’s interest to make sure as many businesses in our sector as possible ride out this current spike and we will be the sector that leads growth when the country fully reopens for business.”

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