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Trade bodies say grants need to be expanded & distribution accelerated

Crucial packages of support announced by the Government are not being delivered quickly enough to help businesses affected by COVID-19, according to leading trade bodies representing the UK’s pub and wider hospitality sectors.

The UKHospitality (UKH), British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), and Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer warning that some local authorities are distributing grants far too slowly to benefit under-pressure businesses.

The letter also warns that too many businesses facing critical cashflow issues fall outside of the threshold for grants. The trade bodies have called on HM Treasury to abolish the £51k maximum rateable value threshold and push councils to deliver cash urgently.

UKHospitality Chief Executive, Kate Nicholls (pictured) said, “The package of support that the Government has announced is very generous. Unfortunately, the delivery of that support has been far too slow, and businesses cannot wait any longer.

“The 51k threshold must also be scrapped as too many businesses fall outside of the limit. These businesses may be in more expensive buildings, but they are being hit just as hard as others. There is also the danger that jobs will be lost in much larger numbers if these bigger employers fail. That is why they need support, too.”

Emma McClarkin, BBPA's Chief Executive, commented, “10,000 pubs are still without any grant support because they are above the rateable value threshold. Unless that is abolished immediately, many of those pubs will cease to exist in a matter of weeks putting some 150,000 jobs at risk.

“Not only are these pubs viable businesses, they are the social hub that bind us together. The Government has got to get its support right and delivered so when this crisis is over pubs can re-open and serve their communities once more.”

CAMRA Chief Executive Tom Stainer, commented: 'While we welcome the support package, speed is now of the essence to make sure pubs, and the people they employ, do not go under while they wait for money to come through.'

Steven Alton, Chief Executive of the BII said: “When we recover from the current crisis, pubs and their teams will play a critical role in reconnecting our communities. To safeguard their future, pubs of all sizes need immediate financial help.”