As half a million companies were forced to close in England, Patch may not even cover ‘basic costs’
In England, pubs, restaurants and breweries have given a lukewarm reception to the offer of grants of up to £ 9,000 from Rishi Sunak to help them survive until spring, warning that the financial “Band-Aid” would not save long-term closures.
The chancellor unveiled a £4.6 billion funding package for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors the morning after the prime minister implemented a seven-week lockdown that will force hundreds of thousands of companies across England to close.
But after being singled out for tough cuts, with the hospitality industry on its knees, industry leaders called for a more ambitious long-term strategy, while craft brewers protested a lack of funding for their previously booming industry.
“While this announcement is very welcome, make no mistake that this is only a band-aid for the immediate ills,” said Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the UK Hospitality industry body.
“It’s not even enough to cover the costs of many businesses and certainly won’t support the longer-term viability of our sector.”
According to property consultancy Altus Group, more than half a million stores across England will have to close as a consequence of the third closure.
Most of them are non-vital retailers that were previously able to run their businesses, but the number also includes 27,022 restaurants and 37,515 pubs, many of which, including the lucrative Christmas weeks, have already closed for extended periods.
Chris Jowsey, chief executive of Admiral Taverns, whose company leases premises to 1,000 pub owners, said most would still not be able to cover their expenses, with smaller pubs particularly vulnerable.
In order to stave off a lot of difficulties and closures, it’s not going to be enough,”It’s not going to be enough to stave off a lot of difficulties and closures,”
The grant of £ 277 million for all pubs in England is focused on the “rateable value,” of a pub, which is the rent it would command on the open market.
The maximum grant of £ 9,000 will be obtained from anyone with a rateable value of over £ 51,000 – usually bigger pubs like big chains.
Just 4,000 pounds is available for smaller pubs with a rateable value of less than 15,000 pounds – mostly neighborhood pubs that mainly sell alcohol.
Jowsey said that if the opening restrictions remain in effect until the end of March, it would amount to approximately 1,000 pounds per month.
The combined plan falls well short of the 3,000 pounds that he said smaller pubs need to keep afloat, combined with current funding of 1,334 pounds a month for smaller pubs.
Jowsey said, “That has to cover everything, including living expenses and feeding the family,” “That leaves nothing for rent.”
In terms of rateable value, about two-thirds of Admiral’s 1,000 pubs fall into the smaller pub group – less than £ 15,000 – and the company charges them a maximum of £ 500 a month, about a third of what they would usually pay.
Pub and beer trade groups said that while the government’s increased funding was a lifeline, it would only provide a short-term respite, as even more extensive long-term action was required.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pubs Association, said, “Without this support, pubs across England were in real danger earlier this year of being lost forever.”
“Without this support, we would have faced permanent closures in the very short term.”
She said their longer-term survival would entail a 5 percent reduction in hospitality VAT, which expires at the end of March, and an extension of business rate relief.
She also called for the beer tax to be cut.
A long-term sector-specific support plan to help pubs thrive was called for by the Real Ale group Camra.
“While one-off grants are welcome, they are nowhere near enough to cover the bleeding costs of pubs and breweries with no end in sight,” said Chairman Nik Antona.
Camra also supported the indignation of the small brewers’ trade group Siba that pubs during the closure would not be able to sell takeaway beers.
Siba CEO James Calder said that craft breweries, which are responsible for much of the funding, are responsible for