The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) and UKHospitality (UKH) have written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak urging him to loosen State Aid restrictions, so that vital cash grants he promised to UK pubs and hospitality businesses in tier two and tier three lockdown areas can reach them.
According to the trade associations, if the Chancellor doesn’t apply the changes to State Aid restrictions, 20,000 hospitality venues and pubs across the UK will not receive the support he has allocated to them – putting the one million plus people they employ’s livelihoods at risk.
Until recently, State Aid rules directed by the EU meant that businesses could only receive up to €800,000 (£720,000) of cash support from the Government, which many businesses had already reached.
However, since 13th October, the rules have changed enabling severely impacted businesses such as those in hospitality up to €3,000,000 (£2,700,000) in State Aid.
Multiple operators of pubs and hospitality venues are therefore missing out on this vital support. In simple terms, an individual pub or restaurant could have claimed a £25k grant in May 2020, but a multiple pub or restaurant owning business would have been capped at claiming for a maximum of 28 sites. These businesses are therefore unable to access further grant support that is so desperately needed.
Businesses hit by this rule, the trade associations say, employ around half of the hospitality workforce – over one million people. This makes getting cash grants to them particularly pertinent in order to protect the majority of hospitality jobs over the winter so they are there for the Spring once restrictions are lifted and the economy opens up again.
Despite this, the Government hasn’t confirmed if it will allow businesses to access extra funds that would provide the help they desperately need, despite the trade associations asking Government for clarity on numerous occasion. According to the trade associations, if the Government doesn’t do this, pubs alone will miss out on grant support in the region of £50 million.
The trade associations are now calling on the UK Government to apply the change to State Aid immediately and in the most flexible way possible, allowing pub and hospitality businesses to receive the grant funding they are eligible for and desperately need.
In a joint statement they said:
“Unfortunately, without applying changes to State Aid restrictions, some 20,000 hospitality venues and pubs will not receive the grants the Chancellor has rightly promised them.
“Without the grants, many pubs and hospitality businesses will be lost forever and half of the hospitality workforce – over one million livelihoods – will be at risk.
“The Government is hiding behind these EU rules which it has the ability to change. This cannot be the Chancellor’s intention, so he must now take advantage of the changes to State Aid rules to immediately unlock the grants our sector desperately needs.
“If action is not taken by the Government or the Chancellor, thousands of businesses and over one million jobs will be at risk throughout the winter and might not survive to the spring and the economic recovery.”
British Beer & Pub Association
The British Beer & Pub Association is the leading body representing Britain’s brewers and pub companies. The Association is more than a century old and was originally founded as the Brewers’ Society in 1904. Our members account for some 90 per cent of beer brewed in Britain today, and own around 20,000 of the nation’s pubs.
UKHospitality is the trade body representing the UK’s hospitality sector, representing over 700 companies, operating around 70,000 venues in a sector that employs 3.2 million people.
The body speaks on behalf of a wide range of leisure and ‘out-of-home’ businesses, from FTSE 100 enterprises to niche groups and independent single-site operators – covering pubs, restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, contract catering, leisure parks, visitor attractions and coffee shops.
British Institute of Innkeeping
The BII is the leading independent licensee support organisation for individuals working in hospitality, with over 9,00 individual members running premises across the UK - predominantly tenanted, leased, managed and freehold pubs. The organisation provides expert helplines, online business support, and guidance on key industry issues, face-to-face networking opportunities and savings on a range of supply deals for its members.