The chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), Emma McClarkin, says a package of financial support is vital — for pubs, brewers and the wider supply chain — as Lancashire prepares for tier 3 lockdown.

Emma McClarkin

Tier 3 restrictions will have a devastating impact on pubs, brewers, and their wider supply chain in Lancashire, unless a proper support package is available to all businesses impacted. Pubs in Lancashire are already struggling with the 10pm curfew, rule of six, lower levels of consumer confidence, and a huge drop in domestic and international tourism.

These additional tier 3 measures mean pubs in Lancashire can only remain open if they serve substantial meals, but with even more restrictions, including no mixed household groups either inside or outside, and only being allowed to serve alcohol with a substantial meal. This will completely kill the business model of up to 400 pubs. The remaining 800 pubs who don’t serve substantial meals will be forced to close completely. The survival of all pubs in either of these categories is hanging dangerously in the balance.

Countless jobs will be lost too if the government doesn’t takes action. We are a people business — our staff and customers are everything —we are nothing without them. In Lancashire alone, 20,000 livelihoods are supported by these local pubs. Government must now do the right thing and provide our sector with a job retention scheme that will truly protect jobs.

We also need urgent clarity on cash grants that must properly cover the lost revenue and high fixed costs these pubs face. The government’s current grants — as low as £325 per week for many pubs — are simply not enough. Grant support given to them needs to be in line with the vastly bigger funds available in Scotland and Northern Ireland. These grants need to be exempt from state aid restrictions to ensure they reach all the businesses that need protecting.

Support also needs to be made available to brewers and the wider supply chain businesses also seeing their custom taken from them overnight. We desperately need this if we want our local pubs to survive to serve their communities and support thousands of local jobs.

The government must also clarify how long the tier 3 restrictions will be in place and what criteria the decisions for moving out of it will be based on. We urge the government to work closely with our sector on this.

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