Pub businesses spend £285m getting equipped for Covid restart

Outside bar

Pub businesses have invested more than £285m supporting their leased and tenanted publicans ahead of reopening, new figures show.

The investment, which comes in the form of rent and other costs waived or reduced during the pandemic, is on top of the significant financial support given to ensure pubs can reopen in a Covid-secure way.

Thousands of pubs reopened for outdoor service yesterday, with many more preparing to reopen inside on 17 May when restrictions ease further.

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The investment used to ensure pubs are Covid-secure and can reopen outdoors includes marquees and tepees in pub gardens that meet government guidelines, along with outdoor heaters and outdoor beer pumps and fridges.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has said the investment showed the benefits of the leased and tenanted model of pubs, which is a partnership model that allows entrepreneurs and individuals the chance to successfully run their own pub business.

It said the support given to leased and tenanted publicans during the crisis was unprecedented and had enabled thousands of pubs across the country to survive the crisis, which without the support could have been lost forever.

The trade association says the government must now recognise the investment the industry has made in its pubs by continuing to support their long term recovery and address the disproportionate tax burden faced, through permanently lower VAT rates extended to all food and drink, a cut in beer duty and Business Rates reform.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “Our sector is enormously proud of the investment we have made in our pubs and publicans. £285m invested in our leased and tenanted pubs shows we are ready to get back open for business. It also shows we have supported our publicans through every step of this crisis.

“It is evidence of the strength of the leased and tenanted pub model – a model which has survived the ups and downs of hundreds of years and is now working to help the sector survive through the Covid-19 crisis.

“We truly believe our pubs have a great future ahead of them, which is why at every level the sector is investing in them. Crucial to pubs’ recovery though is ensuring the government matches this investment by the industry with its own financial support. That means long term cuts to beer duty, VAT and business rates.”

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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