“Staggering” — a description of chancellor Risji Sunak’s decision to invest in new jobs, but not do more to save thousands of pub jobs that already exist.
That’s the view of British Beer and Pub Association chief executive, Emma McClarkin, who said it now seemed that pubs had been “cast adrift” by the government.
She was speaking after the chancellor announced his spending review in the House of Commons earlier today. The government is to borrow £400bn this year to try to counteract the effect of the worst recession in 300 years.
McCkarkin said: “It’s all well and good investing in new jobs, but the actions of this government are killing viable pub businesses and thousands of jobs that already exist. Yet the government is not doing enough right now to help them survive, nor Britain’s brewers that are reliant on them.
“If our sector isn’t allowed to trade properly, or at all, how on earth can the chancellor expect it to survive and protect the livelihoods of the thousands of people working in it? Adequate grants need to be given to pubs urgently or they simply won’t survive the new tier restrictions or Christmas.”
James Calder, chief executive of the Society of Independent Brewers, adopted a similar tone. He said: “Today, at PMQs, the prime minister had the opportunity to address the devastating and unjustified restrictions being forced upon hospitality during what should be the best month of the year, but he did nothing.
“The chancellor, at his spending review, had the opportunity to right a past wrong — that breweries have suffered the hardest during this crisis and received little or no direct support. Both failed in their duty to take these opportunities.
“SIBA will continue to work with other trade and consumer bodies to press the government to see past the narrow view they are taking on coronavirus and address the wider damage they are doing to jobs, businesses, and the irreplaceable culture of the UK’s pubs and breweries.”