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‘Glass half empty’ approach to support fails our pubs warn Labour

Labour warns of ‘last orders’ for pubs as government ‘glass half empty’ approach fails to provide adequate support to closed businesses on the high street

  • New analysis shows cash crisis facing pubs with an estimated £3.8 billion of lost income in crucial Christmas period
  • 36,000 pubs in England have been forced to close – or 9 out of 10 pubs in England
  • Labour is calling for a Hospitality and High Street Fightback Fund that would boost cash support to pubs and hospitality sector saving jobs and livelihoods
  • New analysis by the Labour party has revealed that 93 per cent, or 9 out of 10 pubs in England, have been forced to shut and are set to lose out on thousands of pounds in trade over the critical Christmas period.
  • 85 per-cent of pubs in England were closed in the run up to Christmas. This number will jump to 93 per-cent – with over 3,000 more pubs closed from (today) Boxing Day after new restrictions came into force across large parts of the country.

In November and December last year, pubs and bars across the UK made £3.8 billion in sales to tide them through the first quarter of 2020.

The Official Opposition is warning that thousands of pubs could go bust as they have seen takings tumble, debt mount up, and cash reserves reduced during the coronavirus crisis. The turnover for pubs and bars to August 2020 was less than half of what it was in 2019.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The failure of government to properly support pubs means that three quarters of pubs are receiving up to half the amount of cash support that they received in the first national lockdown.

“This comes after months of reduced sales and the cost of making themselves Covid-safe pushing many to the brink of bankruptcy. This latest analysis confirms what I am hearing from many Portsmouth publicans and is a stark reminder of the extent to which our much-loved local pubs are struggling. Government must act to protect our nation’s pubs”.

The Portsmouth South MP is urging the government to use a portion of the £2 billion in business rate relief that supermarkets have pledged to return to HM Treasury to establish a Hospitality and High Streets Fightback Fund targeted at those firms that have been hardest hit throughout the crisis. 

Labour is calling for the remainder to be used to immediately support self-employed people excluded from support throughout this crisis.

The party is also calling for reform of the unfair Additional Restrictions Grant so that funding is allocated to supply chain businesses based on which Tier a local area is in and how long they have been in it, to reflect business need.

Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Business and Consumers, added: 

“Pubs are a vital part of Britain’s high streets. They bring people together and help communities thrive. They’ve had the toughest of years as a result of the pandemic and, if the government doesn’t step up and put a proper support plan in place to secure their future, it will be last orders for many.

“Boris Johnson is failing our pubs. His glass half empty approach is a real threat to their future. Labour is calling on the government to use part of the £2 billion supermarkets are returning to set up a Hospitality and High Streets Fightback Fund to save businesses and jobs now.”