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‘Wet’ pubs to get one-off £1,000 payment

Written by: Emma Lunn
But business organisations says the payment ‘would only cover the cost of a single keg of beer’.

Boris Johnson has promised pubs which don’t serve food a one-off payment of £1,000 in December.

Pubs in tier 2 or tier 3 areas which only sell drinks (known as ‘wet pubs’) will be unable to fully open under the new system of restrictions which start tomorrow.

Pubs will only be allowed to open in tier 2 if they can act as a restaurant, while those in tier 3 will only be allowed to serve takeaway drinks.

The prime minister told MPs that the hospitality sector has been hit disproportionately hard in the pandemic.

He said: “We will do everything in our power to support our hospitality sector throughout this crisis. We’ve already extended the furlough scheme for all businesses until the end of March… we’ve allocated £1.1bn for local authorities to support businesses at particular risk, and today we’re going further with a one-off payment of £1,000, in December, to wet pubs – that’s pubs that do not serve food.”

But the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said the new pub fund leave a sour taste.

Mike Cherry, FSB national chair, said: “Pubs are facing a dark and difficult winter ahead and ahead of the new restrictions coming into force tomorrow, we need to see action if we are to save the nation’s pubs from collapse.

“Those so called ‘wet pubs’ that predominantly only sell alcoholic drinks have been left high and dry about how they are going to survive during what should be a normally busy and bustling festive period.

“Unless pubs in tiers 2 and 3 are able to offer substantial meals or takeaways eservices, they face little prospect of any December uplift in takings, and it’s critically important that the government addresses this shortfall sooner rather than later.

“But today’s announcement simply does not go far enough at resolving this problem for wet pubs. The proposed funds from the government hardly scratch the surface and we need to see this figure quadrupled at a bare minimum if it is going to have any genuine positive impact for the businesses affected.

“These funds would only cover the cost of a single keg of beer and very little more, which will come as little comfort to pubs who churn out multiple kegs a day during the festive period.”

The FSB pointed out that not only are pubs under the cosh, but suppliers too who have seen orders cancelled and put on hold until normality resumes.

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