The Raising the Bar report, which was launched on Thursday 9 February, has aimed to quantify the effect of the pandemic on pubs and the people who run them as well as identify opportunities to create a thriving pub sector.
According to the report, 95% of the 15,000 publicans, consumers, industry groups and academics surveyed, considered their local pub as ‘very’ or ‘fairly important’ to them, especially with members of the LGBTQ+ community who commented the venues they use are vital to their wellbeing, yet poorly supported by public policy.
Pubs APPG chair Charlotte Nichols said: “The Pubs APPG Inquiry received thousands of responses showing the passion, creativity, commitment, and resilience of licensees, pub staff, consumers, and industry representatives.
“With support from Government, pubs are uniquely positioned to drive economic recovery from the pandemic, while continuing to play a key role in fighting loneliness and encouraging community cohesion.”
Many respondents stated the Government did not understand the pub trade as well as it could, and the current legislative framework surrounding the industry is disjointed with Bounce Back Loan repayments seen as barriers to success throughout the trade.
Nichols added: “Its clear policymakers must take action to address the roadblocks to recovery identified in the Raising the Bar report, and I look forward to working with colleagues in Parliament to ensure pubs receive the support they need.”
Raising the Bar called for significant tax reforms on the high business rates for pubs; an extension to the duration of the reduced rate of VAT; action on the growing debt crisis; refinement of pubs code legislation to ensure a fairer deal for tied tenants in England and Wales and additional resources for the office of the pubs code adjudicator.
Crucial moment for pubs
The report also urged the Government to provide direct investment into the sector, including building on existing training schemes, and improving access to digital services for pubs.
Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) chair Nik Antona said: “This is a crucial moment for pubs, and I hope Government will see this report as an opportunity to raise the bar.
“Without legislative reform and greater investment in the trade, thousands of pubs across the country face an uncertain future."
The full report can be found here.