Councillor Andrew Waller is calling on the Government to take bold action to save our city’s pubs by introducing a national Pub Bailout programme to further boost the available grant support.
York is well known and proud to be the home of many historic pubs, which add to the character of the city and provide thousands of jobs and support the hospitality and tourism sector in the city. In many areas, pubs are the focal point for our communities. Most recent research suggests that almost 10,000 pubs, clubs and restaurants have closed permanently in the last year, and thousands more are at risk unless the Government acts now.
The industry was struggling even before the pandemic, partly due to the re-evaluation of business rates in 2017, which meant a sharp increase for many pubs. The stop/start changes in Government policy on lockdowns particularly hit businesses that had perishable stock, with many in the sector finding themselves excluded from Government’s self-employed support schemes. They will also have less time to build back in the period of reduced business rates.
Recognising the ongoing campaigns by such industry groups as Campaign for Pubs and Campaign for Real Ale, Councillor Andrew Waller is calling on the Government to introduce a national Pub Bailout programme to compensate the hundreds of local pubs overwhelmed by rental costs.
Councillor Andrew Waller, Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning, commented:
“There were many publicans who were looking to the March Budget for a long term plan to help them over the hurdle of staged re-opening, and the long months before they can start to make profit to pay back debts accrued to keep their businesses running over the last year.
“We are only a matter of weeks away from pubs and restaurants opening their doors once again, whilst this will mean that they will see gradual increases in capacity and turnover, with some restrictions on capacity expected to be in place for a considerable time, our pubs need a real boost to help them keep going.
“Now is the time for Government to make bold decisions which will ensure the future of our hospitality industry. Without a substantial support package it could well be Last Orders for many local pubs.”
This relief policy would see local pubs and those small businesses in the hospitality sector, which are losing revenue compared to this time last year, claim up to 80% of their rental costs from the Government. This suggestion is modelled on a successful support scheme rolled out in Germany, designed to support small hospitality businesses.
The pub would have to demonstrate that in the two months leading up to their application for rent relief, they have experienced an average of a 30% drop in revenue compared to the same period pre-pandemic. Pubs would receive up to six monthly grants. The value of each grant would depend on the drop in turnover compared to the same month pre-pandemic.