Pubs fight for survival with further 540,000 jobs at risk
Pubs are "teetering on the edge" of survival, with a further 540,000 jobs at risk, the latest findings reveal, and 23% fear their business will fail by the end of the year without additional government support.
The survey across members of UKHospitality, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) was carried out before the new measures of a 10pm curfew for licensed premises and compulsory table service in England were announced on Tuesday.
The sector has said that the latest restrictions will further worsen the situation and throw its future into doubt.
The findings also reveal that one in eight hospitality staff have already been made redundant, with more jobs expected to be lost permanently when the furlough scheme expires at the end of October.
The trade bodies have called for "drastic action" from the government, including a new sector-specific employment support pack and to extend the VAT cut and business rates holiday, ahead of chancellor Rishi Sunak's announcement today when he is expected to announce new financial support schemes for the sector.
BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: "An immediate stimulus package is required for our sector in the form of an extension to the furlough scheme and business rates relief, plus continuation of the VAT cut to food and soft drinks and a significant cut to the UK's excessively high beer duty."
Earlier this month McClarkin said a businsess rates bill of £800m could be "the last straw" for many UK pubs.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said the future of the pub sector was "still very much in the balance" as many venues had still not reopened and those that had were forced to operate at reduced capacity, resulting in "a fraction of normal revenue".
She added: "We need comprehensive financial support so that those businesses that survive the winter can begin to rebuild next year, starting with a package of measures to support short-time working. The VAT cut for hospitality must be extended through 2021, as must the business rates holiday.
"We also need the government to step in now and help to deal with the rent debt that has built up over months of enforced lockdown."
Commenting on the latest figures, Steven Alton, chief executive of the BII, said: "Government support in our sector is an investment which will deliver strong returns economically, with skilled jobs and allowing our venues to continue to be at the centres of their communities across the UK."