“Wet” pubs to be given one-off £1000 payments – is this enough?

Wet pubs to be given one-off 1000 payments is this enough?FSB national chair, Mike Cherry, has demanded the government take more action to prevent the nations pubs from collapse

“Wet” pubs to be given one-off £1000 payments – is this enough?

FSB national chair, Mike Cherry, has demanded the government take more action to prevent the nations pubs from collapse

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced tens of millions of pounds of new funding for pubs to help them stay afloat during the pandemic. Wet pubs in tier three and tier two areas will be awarded one-off grants of £1000 before Christmas. But is this sufficient to sustain them during the festive period?

The Prime Minister announced the funds will be available for wet-led pubs (pubs that only serve drinks) which are not allowed to remain open in tier two and tier three zones. Under the new tiers system, pubs and restaurants in tier three will be shut down and must operate takeaway services only. Those in tier two are limited to serving alcohol only with substantial meals, though table service is permitted. 

Mr Johnson told MPs the hospitality sector has been hit hard in the pandemic, and that he is committed to doing everything in his power to stop the industry from undergoing a crisis. We will do everything in our power to support our hospitality sector throughout this crisis, Mr Johnson said. We’ve already extended the furlough scheme for all businesses until the end of March… we’ve allocated £1.1bn for local authorities to support businesses at particular risk, and today we’re going further with a one-off payment of £1,000, in December, to wet pubs ‘ that’s pubs that do not serve food.

However, Mike Cherry, FSB national chair, believes the £1000 grants are not sufficient for wet pubs and would leave a sour taste, considering pubs have been shut for months and will miss out on one of their busiest seasons. Pubs are facing a dark and difficult winter ahead and ahead of the new restrictions coming into force tomorrow, we need to see action if we are to save the nation’s pubs from collapse, Mr Cherry said. Those so called ‘wet pubs’ that predominantly only sell alcoholic drinks have been left high and dry about how they are going to survive during what should be a normally busy and bustling festive period.

Mr Cherry insisted the grants will not go remotely far enough to solve the crisis wet pubs are facing, and that the government needs to quadruple their funding efforts at a “bare minimum to make any sort of real change and help the sector collapsing to its knees. Unless pubs in Tiers 2 and 3 are able to offer substantial meals or takeaways eservices, they face little prospect of any December uplift in takings, and it’s critically important that the government addresses this shortfall sooner rather than later, Mr Cherry added. But today’s announcement simply does not go far enough at resolving this problem for wet pubs. The proposed funds from the Government hardly scratch the surface and we need to see this figure quadrupled at a bare minimum if it is going to have any genuine positive impact for the businesses affected.

The funds, which is a £1000 one-off grant, would only cover the cost of a single keg of beer and very little more Mr Cherry said, and demanded ministers step up and take real action to prevent businesses from being forced to shut down instead of using a temporary sticking plaster.

These funds would only cover the cost of a single keg of beer and very little more, which will come as little comfort to pubs who churn out multiple kegs a day during the festive period, Mr Cherry said. Not only are pubs under the cosh, but suppliers too who have seen orders cancelled and put on hold until normality resumes, which is why further support for these groups is needed urgently. These have been incredibly difficult times for all small businesses across the country, and the government needs to produce funds and responses that genuinely save jobs, businesses and livelihoods rather than just act as a temporary sticking plaster. The next few weeks, for many, are normally the busiest of the entire year, and we need to see a pro-business government act now, before it’s too late.

With lockdown measures now easing, the government must step up to help small businesses, many of which are now on the brink of survival. Pubs and bars, which have been shut down since March, have been one of the worst hit industries and are now scrambling to keep afloat. It is vital the government gives more help to the hospital sector to save jobs and businesses from collapse.

Latifa Yedroudj
Latifa Yedroudj

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