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Pub chain will lose £1million on every England match if June 21 reopening delayed

·2-min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Hospitality leaders have called on the Government to offer the hard-hit sector extra support - including a business rates holiday extension - if ministers delay the June 21 ‘freedom day’.

Boris Johnson is reportedly considering delaying full unlocking by two weeks or a month to allow more time for people to receive two vaccinations as the Indian variant surges.

Nick Mackenzie, CEO of pub giant Greene King warned that either delay would see the pub sector lose hundreds of millions in Euros England game sales, exacerbate the hospitality staffing crisis, and see beer and food stocks bought in advance for June 21 go to waste.

He said Greene King, which has over 1,500 managed pubs and nearly 1,000 tenancies, would lose £1 million per England game with fans restricted to table service, adding: "It will put more jobs at risk, and creates more uncertainty at a time when we're finding it really hard to recruit into our industry.

"The availability of kitchen workers, chefs, certain other key workers, is a real issue in patches of the UK - including London. People are going 'if I join the hospitality industry, in three months time am I going to have certainty of income?' That's why it's becoming more difficult to recruit, and why the Government needs to be positive about the sector and give us certainty."

The business rates holiday tapers off from June 30. Greene King will have a £250,000 per day bill, and Mackenzie called on the Government to grant an extension if trade will still be hampered by restrictions.

He said: "Any delay, whilst understandable, means they should continue the support. We won't have the level of revenue we need to cover those rates."

The Labour Party has also called for further economic support to be given to hospitality and retail if June 21 reopening is delayed, warning of a "perfect summer storm" for businesses - and the British Beer and Pub Association estimates beer sales in pubs will see sales around three times lower at Euros matches under social distancing restrictions.

Mackenzie added that central London pubs are faring significantly worse than the rest of the country, still seeing up to 70% lower trading than pre-Covid. Around 15% of the privately-owned group's central London sites are yet to open.

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