BBPA calls on Chancellor to provide targeted support for sector as it looks to recover

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

BBPA calls on Chancellor to provide targeted support for pub sector as it looks to recover from Coronavirus

Related tags: British beer and pub association, Treasury, Coronavirus

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) says that, with the right support, its sector could help drive the economic recovery in the UK after the Coronavirus lockdown.

Ahead of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s summer statement later today (8 July), the trade body has set out a three-point plan to help support businesses in the sector as they attempt to recover.

They include a cut to 5% in the rate of VAT on food, drink and accommodation in the hospitality sector; an extension in business rates relief; and a 25% reduction in beer duty.

Following the lifting of lockdown restrictions in England on 4 July, the BBPA says its members indicated that around 80% of their pubs will reopen in the coming weeks.

However, it adds that trading levels over the first weekend out of lockdown were low, and that they will remain low for a long time to come.

“Covid-19 has hit our sector especially hard, but our brewers and pubs have a key role to play in getting the economy back on its feet and, crucially, boosting the nation’s morale," says BBPA CEO Emma McClarkin.

“Our pubs and breweries want to play a leading role in the recovery. But we can only do that if we have the right help from the Government. Especially as pub trading levels have started very low and will remain unsustainable for a long time until consumer confidence fully returns.

"In addition, our pubs and brewers face a range of punitively high taxes with currently £1 in every £3 spent in a pub going straight to the taxman.

“The measures we have put forward are bold, but they are key to the future of communities across the UK and important British businesses. They are an investment for the future, not a cost.

“Cutting VAT, Beer Duty and Business Rates would secure some 350,000 jobs. As a sector, 43% of those employed in our pubs are under 25 years old. So these jobs we’d save would ensure the life chances of our youngest are not permanently disadvantaged as a result of COVID-19.

“Pubs are inclusive and public spaces – they help bring people together from all walks of life. They are the backbone of our high streets and at the heart of our domestic and international tourism sector.

"To lose our pubs would not just be an economic or jobs disaster, it would also be the end of many communities. We want to use our heritage to restore a sense of national unity and belonging by ensuring pubs remain at the heart of every town, city, rural and coastal community.”

The Chancellor will deliver his summer statement at 12:30 today (8 July), following PMQs. To read our round-up of things we might see introduced under the plan, click here​. 

Related topics: Business

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