Four in ten pub owners have told the Forum of Private Business (FPB) that they are not confident their businesses can survive a June lockdown.

The survey of 560 pubs, carried out on behalf of the FPB in the last two weeks of April, indicates that fewer than one in three licensees are at all confident of opening their doors again if the pub lockdown rules remain in place until the end of the year.

Despite the difficulties being faced by the pub sector, fewer than 20% report that they have so far been forced to make any redundancies, albeit that 86% are no longer paying full salaries.

While only one in five have felt the need to apply for a coronavirus loan under the CBILS scheme, two out of five are still awaiting receipt of the £25,000 Retail, Hospitality, and Leisure Fund payment.

Of those applying for a loan, though, fewer than 4% had been successful at the time of the survey.

Support from the pubcos remains disappointingly variable, says the FPB. Of the 560 respondents, more than two-thirds were tied pub tenants. Yet more than 40% reported that they were still being asked to pay either partial or full rent, despite being closed.

FPB managing director, Ian Cass, said: “Ninety-five per cent of the respondents indicated that their, and their families’, stress levels have increased as a result of the present situation. The pub sector sits at the heart of our communities and the prospect of more than a third of them disappearing if the lockdown becomes anything like prolonged threatens an enormous impact.

“Much of the potential for survival lies in the hands of the pubcoss, and whilst congratulating those who have deferred or cancelled rental payments, we would again call upon those who haven’t to do so without delay.”

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