As many as 19,000 pubs won’t be able to survive beyond September without further financial support.
That was the alarming prospect described by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) following Boris Johnson’s address to the nation last night.
The BBPA said that the speech had failed to offer the industry light at the end of the tunnel, leaving up to 40% of the UK pub industry just months from collapse.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, said: “The industry was looking for a glimmer of hope today, a date to plan to and further financial support reassured, but it looks like we have more weeks of uncertainty ahead of us.
“With insufficient clarity as to when pubs will reopen, our sector remains in limbo and facing severe uncertainty and financial devastation. If government plans to keep pubs closed until the final phase of release, as rumoured, this would make pubs first in and last out of lockdown.
“Despite this, the government hasn’t outlined any specific additional financial support for pubs to assure and help them through the extended lockdown hardship they face. We understand that pubs should only open when safe to do so, but extending the lockdown without offering additional support will be devastating.
“Our own research shows that 40% of Britain’s pubs won’t survive beyond September with the current level of financial support on offer from the government. That’s almost 19,000 pubs that won’t reopen.”
Ms McClarkin said the government’s current financial support “does not go anywhere near enough” to cover pubs’ costs through an extended lockdown. And anticipated stringent social distancing restrictions mean many will also face vastly reduced revenue when they do reopen.
“Our clear and urgent ask to the government is that they recognise the real jeopardy facing the great British pub and put in place targeted measures now to save it, or risk losing local pubs forever.”