Campaign for Pubs

Campaign for Pubs slams UK Government for last minute decision to cancel New Year for thousands of pubs

The Campaign for Pubs, the national grassroots campaign group representing pubs, publicans and pub-goers, has slammed the Government for leaving it so late to announce the forced closure of virtually every pub in England, giving less than 9 hours for pubs to have to close and the day before New Year’s Eve, when many pubs in Tier 2 areas had purchased stock believing they would be allowed to open. This follows the pattern of last minute decisions and U-turns by the UK Government and the latest such decision is a further devastating blow to thousands of pubs, publicans and their families who now face an even more bleak new year.

Whilst fully accepting and supporting efforts to tackle Coronavirus, once again the very late decision making and changing of rules has hit pubs and restaurants harder than most other businesses forced to close, with very large amounts of food now set to go to waste and a huge quantity of beer to be again poured away, with the Government offering no compensation at all for this, despite having left the decision so late.

The level of support for pubs in England is wholly inadequate, with closed pubs still having to meet significant fixed costs and bills and thousands of pubs and publicans are getting into more and more debt each week, this is not sustainable and doesn’t seem to be understood by the Government. The current grants are not remotely adequate even to cover costs, never mind making up for the devastating loss of normal December trade and now most pubs face no trade at all for weeks and without support, many pub businesses will not be able to survive and many families will lose their livelihoods.

The Campaign for Pubs are calling for an urgent package of support and are calling on all pub-lovers to sign the #SavePubsNOW petition, started by Campaign Director Greg Mulholland which now has over twelve thousand signatures

Greg Mulholland, Campaign Director of the Campaign for Pubs said:

“Pubs and publicans accept the need to tackle Covid but ordering hospitality to close and cancelling New Year’s Eve with less than nine hours notice having allowed pubs & restaurants to buy stock is disgraceful. It is also deeply damaging to the mental health of tens of thousands of people whose livelihoods are dependent on pubs and hospitality.

“The way the Government keeps changing its mind is disastrous for pubs and the Government must now announce an adequate package of support through the winter and do so quickly or many pubs will close and many families will face hardship”.

Paul Crossman, Chair of the Campaign for Pubs said:

“With pubs and hospitality in virtually the whole of England being all but shut down today, all eyes are now firmly on Rishi Sunak to finally provide the necessary support, following the inadequate amount offered so far under the winter restrictions. The entire sector is now on its knees following a succession of last minute changes from the Government, and only proper compensation for closures and restrictions will now save thousands of businesses throughout the supply chain, protecting jobs and livelihoods and preventing serious hardship.

“With a mental health crisis looming due to stress and isolation the Government must urgently recognise the vital role that well run pubs and other hospitality businesses will play in our collective recovery. When the time comes to ease restrictions they must finally cease scapegoating and demonising the sector as part of the problem, and instead begin to acknowledge supervised, safe hospitality settings as a vital part of the solution”.

Dawn Hopkins, Vice Chair of the Campaign for Pubs said:

“With virtually every pub in England and most of the UK now forced to close their doors it’s critical that the government act now and give our publicans the financial support we desperately need. Current levels of support are significantly less than during the first Lockdown yet our costs remain the same, and without an increase in financial support many pubs will not be opening their doors again.

The Government must stop ignoring us, stop ignoring our suppliers, stop ignoring our customers or face the fact that our wonderful pub industry may never recover”.


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