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Coronavirus: Pubs on the brink of closure as they wait for government loans

Mark Shapland
·2-min read
PUBS
Britain's pubs are struggling to survive the COVID-19 crisis (Justin Tallis/Getty)

UK pubs face the prospect of closure as they desperately wait for a decision on whether they will receive a government backed loan.

More than half have yet to receive the critical government grants they are eligible for to help them through the COVID-19 crisis.

According to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), thousands of the UK’s pubs are being left without the financial support promised to get them through the lockdown.

Members of the trade association were asked if their pubs had received either the £10,000 ($12,458) or £25,000 grant they are eligible for.

Results show that 58% of leased and tenanted pubs are yet to receive the £10,000 grant, and 61% of pubs had not received a £25,000 grant either.

The BBPA also found that there was a “postcode lottery” on the delivery of grants, with the pay-out rate varying between different local authorities.

As a result the BPPA has called for the government to speed up the delivery of grants and increase the number of loans on offer.

The body has welcomed the recent introduction of the 100% government underwritten “bounce back” loans scheme, providing further support for small businesses.

But the trade association says applications from pubs for the scheme must be prioritised.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, said: “Pubs and breweries have large costs to cover, so they are experiencing significant cash flow issues. How can the government expect them to survive the COVID-19 lockdown without this vital financial support?

“If the government doesn’t take decisive action now to both widen and speed up the delivery of grant payments and their loans, then pubs and breweries are at real risk of not surviving the lockdown and jobs will be lost across the UK.

“For the sake of all the communities across the UK our pubs and breweries serve – and the 900,000 people employed by them – the government cannot allow them to close.

“The UK’s 47,000 pubs urgently need the support they have been promised. The government must deliver it now.”