The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the leading trade association representing brewers and pubs, has today responded to the announcement by the First Minister of Wales that pubs will be forced to close at 6pm from Friday and won’t be able to serve alcohol, except possibly for takeaway.
It means that all 3,227 pubs in Wales will be severely hit throughout December, the most important trading time of the year. 2,151 community pubs that are drinks led will be forced to close whilst 1,076 pubs that are more food led will be rendered unviable by the ban on alcohol sales and 6pm curfew. Possible takeaway sales will not go anywhere near compensating for this huge loss of business.
The BBPA welcomes the First Minister’s announcement of enhanced grant funding for pubs, to help all those businesses that will be made unviable and forced to close. It says it is important that the detail of this funding is made fully available at the earliest opportunity.
Emma McClarkin, BBPA's Chief Executive, said, “Make no mistake, the 6pm curfew and ban on serving alcohol on all 3,227 pubs in Wales will destroy the sector. Evenings are the key trading period for pubs and enjoying a beer, with or without a meal, is one of life's simple pleasures – forcing pubs to close at 6pm and banning alcohol sales all but closes them down in reality.
“When you factor in that December, with the festive season, is the most important time of the year for pub goers and our sector, this really couldn’t come at a worse time.
“Thankfully the Welsh Government is looking at significantly increasing the financial support on offer to pubs in Wales in recognition that these restrictions will devastate many businesses.
“Such support is an absolute necessity if Welsh pubs and breweries are to survive this Christmas and be there to re-open and help lead the economic recovery in the future. It is vital too that this support gets through current State Aid restrictions so that ALL pubs who need it have access to it.
“The Prime Minister needs to now deliver significantly enhanced financial support to pubs and the wider supply chain in England, if they are going to survive the dire impact of the new tighter tiering restrictions coming into place this week.”