St Austell Brewery chief executive, Kevin Georgel, reacts to the latest government measures affecting the hospitality sector.

Once again, the Great British pub and British breweries are facing an existential threat. This time, not as a direct result of the pandemic, but as a consequence of the government’s unfair targeting of our sector.

Since March, we’ve worked tirelessly and collaboratively to support the nation’s battle against covid-19. We’ve closed our pubs, invested millions in re-opening safely, and played a responsible role in balancing the public health risk and the economic impact.

As a result of this work, pubs are proven to have one of the lowest levels of transmission rates. YouGov consumer research also shows that the public feel safer in pubs than they do in shops or on public transport.

Against this backdrop, we are devastated that the government has singled out the Great British pub once again and is enforcing illogical restrictions on us, without sufficient targeted financial support.

The Great British pub is part of our social fabric. It’s far more than just a huge economic contributor — it is the focal point for social cohesion at a time when we all need it most. The avoidable loss of these wonderful, historic, community assets will be felt by generations to come. We urge the government to work in partnership with the hospitality industry to arrive at a more balanced approach, while offering targeted and longer-lasting financial support at this critical time.

St Austell Brewery is a proud and historic business. We opened our first pub in 1851 and are one of the largest employers in the West Country today. The potential impact on our business will result in devastating consequences for our people, our customers and the communities that we serve.

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