Calling time: Hurry up on grants, says pub trade

Covid-19 closed pub sign lobbying grants
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The government could and should do more to shore up shuttered pubs quickly and efficiently say its leading lobbyists.

 

Some of the leading voices in the UK’s pub industry are lobbying government to step-up both the speed and scale of grants made available to shuttered pubs throughout the country.

A joint letter signed by the British Beer & Pub Association, British Institute of Innkeeping, Campaign for Real Ale and UK Hospitality was sent to chancellor Rishi Sunak last week, calling for Westminster to increase pressure upon local authorities to deliver business its relief grants in a more efficient manner.

“Local authorities have a direct link to business through the business rates system so they are a logical delivery partner and should be able to provide efficient payment to all businesses,” they wrote. “While we have seen some local authorities provide grants very quickly, the vast majority have onerous processes in place and others are simply showing a lack of understanding of the urgency of these payments to businesses.”

Indeed, a wide disparity in payouts to publicans has been made clear on social media, with pub trade paper the Morning Advertiser noting “some reporting payment in days and others left in the lurch with sparse communications from their councils.”

In addition to their request for haste in payment, the four societies also called for government to scrap the £51,000 maximum rateable value placed as a threshold to grant eligibility – claiming that it left approximately 10,000 pubs adrift and wary of taking on too much debt.

“Abolishing the threshold and linking the grant payment to their rateable value would be invaluable in the ongoing battle for these businesses to survive and ensure all pubs and hospitality businesses that were viable before this crisis have a chance of remaining viable afterwards,” they argued.

Meanwhile, head of the BBPA Emma McClarkin has said that should the affected pubs not receive adequate relief, they would “cease to exist within a matter of weeks,” putting 150,000 staff out of work.

“Not only are these pubs viable businesses, they are the social hub that bind us together,” she commented. “The government has got to get its support right and delivered so when this crisis is over pubs can reopen and serve their communities once more.”


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