The British Beer and Pub Association has written to the Prime Minister telling him the UK pub industry will be lost within days without immediate government action.

Chief executive, Emma McClarkin, writes: “Today’s government guidance advising that people avoid pubs did not provide any form of advice or clarity on how the industry should respond. This is unhelpful in the extreme.

“At the same time, the absence of any financial commitment to stand behind all businesses, including small community pubs, is creating panic, with people being fearful that their livelihoods will be destroyed.

“We urgently require more clarity from the government. The government’s advice without the required clear directive impacts on both the safety of the general public and all employees.”

She added: “The announcements in the Budget last week are now irrelevant in the context of the challenges the industry faces tonight. In order that our sector can confront this devastating scenario, we would ask that the government takes the following actions immediately as a matter of urgency, in order to prevent mass job losses and
permanent pub closures.”

The BBPA’s suggested actions to help pubs

  • The cancellation of all business rates payments for a period of six months, as well as all HMRC tax payments, including PAYE, VAT and corporation tax for pubs/hospitality businesses
  • Cancellation of beer duty payments for a period of six months
  • Ensure banks are encouraged to extend credit lines and favourable-terms loans
  • Payment holidays to keep businesses afloat/pay wages
  • Put in place a temporary redundancy scheme in which, as in the Danish system, the government commits to supporting 75% of the wages of those made redundant for a defined period
  • In the medium term, explore the viability of a substantial VAT cut for a period of time in order to drive trade back to the hospitality sector
  • Postponement of the planned national minimum wage/national living wage increase due in April, in order to ease pressure on cashflows

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