It's not biting the hand that feeds if its scraps from the table

By Ed Bedington contact

- Last updated on GMT

Should pubs be grateful to the Government?

Related tags: Government, Rishi Sunak, ukhospitality, grants, Pubs, Coronavirus, Christmas

It wasn’t so much a shining knight, riding to our rescue on the white horse, more like a clown on the back of a knackered old seaside donkey.

The much touted figure of a £1bn support package, when it’s broken down to the finer detail, is more like a slap in the face than the “generous” support package the Government clearly wishes us to think it is.

Even the £6k figure is pretty misleading, with few pubs set to receive such a “generous” sum. Most are likely to get between £2.7k and £4k, but given the scale of their losses thanks to the messaging from our lords and masters, as many have pointed out on social media - it won’t “touch the sides”.

And that’s before we even start to look at the method of delivery of these “generous” grants - local authorities that did such a great job on the grants last time round - I think there are still some operators out there fighting to get funds from the first lockdown!

The grant seems, to me, to demonstrate a total lack of understanding of quite how much damage the behaviour and approach of the last few weeks has done to our sector, at one of the most crucial times of the year.

And I know there are some out there shouting that the hospitality sector is ungrateful and should be happy it is getting something, but I’m sorry, why the hell should we be grateful for the crumbs from the table of a Government that pushed us off the table in the first place?

Should we simply take the meagre handout and sit meekly in the corner hoping that we will get some more? It's not biting the hand that feeds if the hand doing the feeding is trying to give you thin air.

The sector is hurting and angry right now - it’s seen its best chance for putting a decent foot forward for recovery once again snatched away at the last minute by a government that has failed to recognise and accept the responsibility for its actions.

We didn’t want meagre handouts, we wanted proper support, flexible furlough for example, to allow those struggling to trade to at least make a fist of it in the face of serious challenges.

And on top of all that, we’re potentially looking at yet more restrictions post Christmas which will hamper trade even further - and what support will we get then? We’ll probably be told we’ve had it and we should be grateful with the Chancellors “generous” crumbs.

At the start of this crisis, the Government surprised everyone by reacting quite well, with what could be described as generous support - since then the support has been growing less and less to the extent now that we run the risk of all that initial support being a complete waste of time and money. 

Why go to such lengths at the start of the pandemic, simply to strangle the remaining life out of the sector now.

We need meaningful support now, not meaningless and mean handouts.

Related topics: Legislation

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