Speedy decisions are going to be key to industry survival

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

Gov must act fast: BBPA chair and St Austell CEO Kevin Georgel
Gov must act fast: BBPA chair and St Austell CEO Kevin Georgel

Related tags Social responsibility Multi-site pub operators Pubco + head office

Speed of decision making from political leaders is going to be key to giving the hospitality sector clarity and confidence, a sector leader has warned.

Speaking at the British Beer & Pub Association’s annual dinner, BBPA chair and chief executive of St Austell Brewery Kevin Georgel said: “We have been through and continue to be in stormy waters… in this new era, it seems everything is changing all at once and almost on a daily basis. 

“Today, under new political leadership we hope we are moving towards a more pro-business environment but there remains much uncertainty and I urge our politicians to move quickly and give business clarity and confidence as to how we fit with their pro-growth agenda. 

“For our industry, the storms remain and now more than ever we need to understand what lies ahead of us and be reassured we have a Government still willing to listen and committed to continuing to support our recovery and invest in the industry to allow it to, once again, play its role in generating revenue for the country.”

Sector contributes £26.2bn to economy

He pointed out that the UK’s beer and pub industry supports almost 1m jobs and contributes £26.2bn to the UK economy.

He said there were key measures that could help the sector move forward to maintain that contribution: “We have clear and consistent asks of the Government to help us do this and we will continue to make the case to reappraise the burden of an outdated, punitive and uncompetitive tax regime focused on business rates, VAT and duty, as well as lobbying for a more friendly environment to carry on our businesses with less needless regulation and intervention.”

The dinner, which was sponsored by Sky, saw more than 300 people gather in London, and raise more than £20,000 for Only A Pavement Away and the Licensed Trade Charity.

Industry leaders were also recognised, with Pub is the Hub’s John Longden being recognised with the Industry Champion Award for his tireless work in helping pubs to diversify.

He said: “You have no idea how special this is. This is also for the family of Pub is The Hub and to our family of supporters. 

“We all enjoy collaborating and helping publicans in their local areas. For every £1 invested in a shop, community café, village garden or play area, it creates between £8 to £9 of social value. It is the social value that helps to bind us together in this wonderful industry.  

“We believe we can inspire 1,000 projects over the next three years and we have over 50 expressions of interest at this time.”

Pubs and brewers remain

Former Young’s CEO Patrick Dardis also received the Chairman’s Award for his long-term service to the industry in various roles, including over two decades at the helm of Young’s.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, added: “This time last year, we hoped we were done with ‘unprecedented times’ but here we are again after another year of surprises, challenges, and once-in-a-lifetime events.

“And throughout all of it, our pubs and brewers have remained at the heart of villages, towns and cities across the countries, providing a place of solace and community for so many and it’s why I am really proud to stand here tonight representing our brilliant industry.”

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