Warnings 19,000 pubs could close forever unless Government bring in bailout scheme


THOUSANDS of pubs could close forever unless the Government bring in a bailout scheme, MPs have claimed.

Politicians from all the main parties have urged the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to provide “tailored support” to help Britain’s boozers stay afloat in the pandemic.

Many pubs fear they may never reopen if they stay shut for many more months

They demanded urgent changes to how pubs are treated, including lifting restrictions on funding, stopping big pub companies charging tenants rent during the crisis, and continuing with the furlough scheme.

In a letter, they said: “Pubs face a unique combination of challenges. They are the least likely to be able to offer their products for delivery or online.

“They are highly dependent on property and any continuation of social distancing measures is likely to make it difficult or impossible to reopen or operate on a scale that breaks even.

“Pubs have also been identified by the Government as being amongst the last businesses that will be allowed to reopen.”

The letter was backed by the Campaign for Real Ale.

CEO Tom Stainer said: “It has been estimated that up 19,000 pubs are now at risk of permanent closure as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, which also means that jobs are on the line and consumers stand to lose out on the social and wellbeing benefits of pub-going.

“Up to 20 per cent of pubs may not be eligible for grant support due to their high rateable value – but that doesn’t mean they are better able than smaller pubs to weather this storm, so it’s imperative that the grant scheme is extended to offer them support.”

For the first time in Britain’s history, all pubs have been forced to close

Britain boasts 60,000 pubs, directly employing 457,000 people.

However, they won’t open again until at least July 4 with Boris Johnson continuing to review the Government’s new measures.

A Treasury spokeswoman said: “The Chancellor has outlined an unprecedented package of measures to protect millions of people’s jobs and incomes as part of the national effort in response to the coronavirus.

“The Government has provided billions of pounds in cash grants to hundreds of thousands of businesses and protected 7.5 million jobs through our job-retention scheme, supporting businesses across UK, and we are giving all businesses who need it, including those in the hospitality sector, more time to pay tax bills, with no interest or late penalties.”