Just a quarter of Britain’s pubs are open under this new lockdown, which masquerades as a tier system. Almost 30,000 pubs are currently closed in England and government support, currently just a third of that available in Wales, does not even cover the basic fixed costs.
The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has estimated that Britain’s pubs have invested up to £500m in anti-Covid measures. Yet hundreds of thousands of jobs are at stake, with many already lost. This authoritarian, so-called Conservative government have singled out pubs for exceptionally harsh and unjustified treatment.
Brewers Greene King, with a 38,000-strong workforce, has said up to a third of their pubs will close for good. It doesn’t need a degree in mathematics to see that 12,000 jobs are about to go from one firm alone. That’s twelve thousand households that suddenly find themselves with a reduced income.
Just 729 pubs in Cornwall and the Isle of Wight are allowed to open almost normally, with mixing between households allowed up to a maximum of six, but even they are still subject to the 10pm curfew. They should be thankful – new regulations in Wales see last orders at 6pm. It’s an impossible situation. Pubs I’ve run haven’t even started getting busy till after 4pm as people start to finish work.
The founder of Punch Taverns, Hugh Osmond, warned that millions of jobs could be lost in the hospitality sector. The former Tory donor said “I think sometimes that these politicians live in another world, they live in something of an ivory tower”. How often have we, as a party, said that laws have been too London-centric and bear no relation to the economic devastation that is being caused up and down the country?
For so many wet-led pub operators, the loss of Christmas and New Year trading will sound the death knell on their business. Yet this is all for an industry that contributed just 1.8% to the infection rate according to Sky News. Those who saw the packed scenes outside many Primark stores and Harrods at the weekend must be shaking their heads in bewilderment. The hypocrisy of Johnson’s double-dealing Junta is beyond belief.
Boris Johnson said it would be a “fatal mistake” to relax the regulations on pubs before Christmas. The next review of the tiers is on December 16th. It will be fatal to the hospitality industry if rules are not relaxed.
Martin Day – Party Secretary