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  • BBPA Budget response – Good news for pubs in the short-term, long-term stimulus still needed to secure the great British pub 

    03 March 2021

    BBPA responds to Chancellor’s Budget worth over £1.5 billion for brewers and pubs  Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget speech, Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of British Beer & Pub Association, said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s announcement of continued support for the devastated pub sector in the form of additional grants, as well as extensions to the job retention scheme, 5% hospitality VAT rate and business rates holiday. “The new grants are worth £400 million for pubs and will go some way in helping many of them survive through to the time when they can reopen and operate viably. It is, however, crucial that the Government ensures all pubs benefit, including those that are part of a group, by removing the current State Aid cap. “The extension of the job retention scheme until September will help save thousands of pub jobs. Worth £700 million to our pubs and brewers, it gives the sector time to reopen and rebuild trade before bringing all staff back, which would otherwise be too costly and unviable whilst still facing trading restrictions until end of June. “It is imperative that the Government allows pubs to operate without restrictions as planned from 21st June. This will give them the best chance to get back on their feet and serve their communities. “Extending the 5% VAT hospitality rate until September and at 12.5% thereafter is most welcome. We calculate it is worth £485 million to pubs. With all pubs having been closed for so long, the lower VAT rate has been of limited benefit so far, tens of thousands of pubs will not benefit from this until they reopen on 17th May at the earliest and then still at reduced capacity. However, wet led pubs will be especially disappointed again that the reduction will not apply to all beverages so they too can benefit from this. “We campaigned hard for an extension of the business rates holiday and the Chancellor announced a 100% cut on rates until June and up to a 66% cut for the following 9 months. This is good news, but the proposed cap will mean many pub businesses will not benefit fully from this. We await to see more detail. “Having called for a cut in beer duty and being a staunch supporter of the Long Live The Local campaign, a beer duty freeze will be seen as much needed short-term relief for the sector. However, the Chancellor has only partially listened to the 500,000 campaign supporters who signed the petition calling for a cut in beer duty. We now hope the Government will use the ongoing Alcohol Duty Review to cut beer duty to support our brewers and pubs and level the playing field with other brewing nations. The Government must support and promote Britain’s extraordinary pub and brewing sector in the way other Government’s support their domestic industries. “Overall, this is a good Budget for pubs and breweries in the short term, reflecting just how vital they are to the social, cultural and economic fabric of our communities. “However, this is just the start of the journey on the hard road to long-term recovery for our sector. The Chancellor has made it clear today he recognises the vital role local pubs play in their communities. Now he must continue that commitment by ensuring Britain’s pubs and breweries are supported in the long term. This should start by extending the VAT cut on hospitality to all drinks until at least the end of the year. We also need a fundamental reform of VAT, business rates and beer duty to ensure that the thousands of pubs and breweries across the UK can thrive and help drive the social and economic recovery we urgently need.”

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  • Welsh Beer & Pub Association launches on St David’s Day to promote brewers and pub operators of Wales 

    01 March 2021

    New association will work with BBPA, Welsh Government and UK Government  A new trade association has been launched today, on St David’s Day, to promote brewers and pub operators in Wales. The Welsh Beer & Pub Association will represent the wide range of beer and pub businesses in Wales, campaigning for policy outcomes that help protect and grow the sector. It will work alongside the British Beer & Pub Association, the Welsh Government, the Senedd and UK Government to achieve these outcomes. There are over 3,000 pubs in Wales and approximately 120 breweries, with the overall Welsh beer and pub sector supporting 42,000 jobs and contributing nearly £1bn in Gross Value Added to the economy.   Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the newly formed Welsh Beer & Pub Association, said: “With over 3,000 pubs and 120 breweries, Wales is a vital hub for our sector. In recognition of this, we are proud to launch the Welsh Beer & Pub Association – a body solely aimed at promoting Welsh brewers and pub operators and given them a much-heard voice with both the Wales Government and UK Government. “Given that today is St David’s Day, it could not be a better day to launch this important new trade association. I urge pubs and brewers who feel they need a voice to get in touch to find out how we can help them.”   Mark Davies, CEO of Hawthorn, who own 26 community pubs in Wales and Chairman of the Welsh Beer and Pub Association:  “Pubs and the brewing industry have been at the heart of Welsh communities for centuries. As a Welshman born and bred, I’m proud to stand alongside my industry colleagues as part of the WBPA, to promote the beer and pub sector in Wales. The people of Wales are proud of their heritage and pubs are part of the social fabric that makes Wales such a great place to live and work.”   Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, said:  "The brewing and pub sector is a vital contributor to Welsh communities as well as for the Welsh economy. The last 12 months have been uniquely challenging for hospitality and their supply chains and for that reason I have valued the positive working relationship that has been developed with the industry. I look forward building on the constructive discussions we have had over the course of the pandemic, and to working with the Welsh Beer and Pub Association as the sector begins its journey along the road to recovery."   Jack Sergeant MS, Chair of the Cross-Party Group on Beer and Pubs, said: “I know the huge role the brewing and pubs sector plays in our communities and its importance to the Welsh economy. The launch of the Association is brilliant news and I look forward to working closely with them to secure a bright future for pubs across Wales as we look to rebuild post-Covid.”

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  • New research shows overwhelming public desire for Government to help Britain's pubs and Breweries in upcoming Budget

    27 February 2021

    Research commissioned by The British Beer and Pub Association and Long Live The Local, the campaign to cut beer duty and help Britain’s pubs, has today revealed that Brits think the Government should support local pubs and breweries in the Budget on 3 March. The research, conducted by YouGov, found that 3 in 4 Brits (76%) believed that pubs are important to local communities – a 4 percentage point increase since July 2019. 64% also said that pubs are important in securing the future of local high streets. The British Beer and Pub Association and Long Live the Local said the findings show that the Coronavirus crisis and lockdowns have meant communities value their local pubs and breweries more than ever. When asked if they wanted the Chancellor to help pubs in the forthcoming Budget, only 12% of respondents thought the Government should not do anything. 52% of people supported a cut in business rates, 46% of people wanted to see a cut or freeze in beer duty and 42% supported a reduction on VAT on pub food. More than 6 in 10 people (62%) also said they think the Government should use the Spring Budget to support Britain`s brewing industry with 54% of people thinking a cut in beer duty should be included in the Budget, as 7 in 10 (69%) thinking that the level of beer duty in the UK, which is 11 times higher than that in Germany, is unfair*. Emma McClarkin, CEO, British Beer & Pub Association said, “These findings serve as a much-needed reminder to how important local pubs are to our communities. People miss their local and the sense of community it brings. They also miss drinking a proper pint of their favorite beer. When we are through this crisis it is pubs that will bring our communities together again and provide that return to normality. Now it is on the Chancellor to listen to the people and give the support to pubs and brewers they want to see. That is a beer duty cut that will help our hard-hit locals get back on their feet and continue to serve their communities across the UK”  David Cunningham, Campaign Director of Long Live the Local, says, “This research shows how much people want Government to help Britain’s pub and brewing sector in this Budget -especially following the extremely tough year they have faced. This chimes with the strong support we have seen for our campaign. More than 500,000 people have signed a petition and 275,000 have written to their MP urging them to cut beer duty. The Chancellor must understand the plight faced by pubs and brewers and listen to all those who for three years have been asking for a cut in beer duty– it’s never been more needed.” To add your name to the petition, please visit

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  • 29,000 pubs will stay closed even if outdoor service is allowed in April 

    16 February 2021

    BBPA responds to speculation that service outdoors will be permitted from April, urges Government to fully re-open pubs – inside and outside – with non-essential retail The British Beer & Pub Association, the leading trade association representing brewers and pubs, has today revealed that it believes 29,000 pubs – 60% of all pubs in the UK – will still remain closed if outdoor service is permitted at pubs from April. The trade association says this is because the majority of pubs in the UK do not have a big enough garden or outdoor space to re-open and serve customers without opening indoors too. The figures come as speculation and reporting suggests that outdoor service could be permitted in hospitality venues from April. The BBPA says that as this is unfeasible for the majority of pubs and that pubs should be allowed to re-open fully, outside and inside, when non-essential retail also opens. It says around 75% of UK pubs have a beer garden or outdoor space, but that only 40% of pubs are likely to have a beer garden or outdoor space big enough. Even then, if many with big enough outdoor spaces did open, they could still struggle to break even as they would still have vastly reduced capacity and significant practical challenges such as the April weather to deal with. It would mean that if pubs did open outdoors only in April, just 17% of UK pub capacity (both indoor and outdoor) would be opened. This would result in a loss of turnover to the sector of £1.5 billion when compared to trading in normal times. Because of this, the Government would need to continue grant support to all those pubs unable to open at all or who can partially open, but with vastly reduced trade.   Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:  “Let us be clear, outdoor service at pubs is not the same as properly opening pubs both inside and outside and is not commercially viable. “By our numbers, 29,000 pubs would still be forced to stay shut in April because they simply do not have the beer garden or outdoor space to do it. “If pubs do open outdoors only in April – we believe just 17% of UK pub capacity will actually open. This would result in a loss of turnover to the sector of £1.5 billion when compared to trading in normal times. That is far from reopening and recovering. “Even if some pubs did try and open outdoors only in April, all it would take is some heavy rain and they would find it has all been for nothing. “For many pubs, gardens are at the back and the only way to access them is through the inside. And of course, toilet facilities would still need to be provided. “We question the Government’s thinking behind this and suggest they consult with us as a sector on it. “We urge the Government to open our pubs inside – and outside – when non-essential retail also opens. By then, the vaccine will have been rolled out to millions more, and pubs can open whilst continuing to follow exemplary hygiene measures, world leading standards in guidance and social distancing. “Until then, the Government must do all it can to support our sector until it opens to trade properly in the upcoming Budget.”

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  • Pubs and brewing amongst worst affected sectors as UK economy contracts by 9.9%

    12 February 2021

    BBPA responds to ONS 2020 GDP figures The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the leading trade association representing brewers and pubs, has today responded to new ONS GDP figures published for 2020, which show the UK economy contracted by 9.9%. According to the ONS, Food and Beverage services – which includes pubs – dropped by 48.0%. Alcohol drink manufacturing, which includes breweries, fell by 33.9%. The figures announced by the ONS follow 2020 sales data published by the BBPA earlier this week, which showed beer sales in pubs dropped by 56% in 2020 – a fall of £7.8 billion. The trade association says the ONS figures heighten the need for a clear reopening date for pubs from the Prime Minister and stimulus support from the Chancellor in his upcoming Budget, as outlined in their roadmap to recovery published earlier this week to help kick-start the sector again as soon as it can reopen. A British Beer & Pub Association spokesperson said: “These latest GDP figures are yet another indicator of the devastation our pubs and breweries across the UK have faced through Coronavirus, lockdowns and severe restrictions. “After nearly a year of being forced to close, or open but under severe restrictions, the numbers will come as no surprise to publicans across the country for whom the real, material impact of these numbers are being felt. “Things cannot continue as they are. Local pubs and breweries have been burning through cash and building up debt for months, communities across the UK are fast running out of hope that their local is going to survive. Thousands of pubs and hundreds of thousands of jobs continue to hang in the balance whilst we wait for clarity on exactly when and how pubs reopen. “If measures aren’t announced on 22nd February in the Government’s recovery roadmap providing the clarity our sector needs on when it can reopen, as well as support it needs to survive until then, we fear things could get even worse. Even when pubs do reopen, they will need a stimulus package of support to kick-start them again. “All eyes from the sector will also be turning to the Chancellor ahead of his Budget in March. He must do the right thing and combat the worrying trend of these numbers by delivering the financial support package our sector needs. That means a beer duty cut for brewers and pubs, an extension of the Business Rates holiday and an extension to the VAT cut for hospitality. “Now more than ever people need hope of social reconnection in the near future. Reopening pubs, as the heart of the community, will allow families and friends to reconnect with each other in a welcoming, safe and regulated place  - something we have all missed.”

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  • Beer and pub sector leaders press Government for reopening date, as sales plummeted 56% in 2020 – down by £7.8 billion  

    10 February 2021

    BBPA urges Government to give reopening date for pubs in newly published roadmap for sector recovery      The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and sector business leaders have today urged the Government to give a clear timeline and date for when pubs can reopen.    The call comes as it was revealed today that trading restrictions and lockdowns caused sales of beer to plummet by 56% in 2020 - down by £7.8 billion.    Given the severity of the impact that trading restrictions and lockdowns have had on the sector, the BBPA and business leaders of the beer and pub industry have published a recovery roadmap to reopen pubs fully after the current lockdown.    The roadmap states that post vaccination of the most vulnerable, pubs must reopen when non-essential retail and other parts of the hospitality sector reopen. It also says that mandatory trading restrictions – such as alcoholic drinks served only with a substantial meal, no mixed households and the 10pm curfew – must be removed when pubs reopen in a timely way.    Upon the re-opening of the sector, the BBPA also says the Government will need to continue to provide financial support in the form of a stimulus package to ensure businesses do not fail due to unsustainable debt built up during the lockdowns. It says an extension to the VAT cut and business rates holiday will be essential, as well as a significant beer duty cut, to help pubs trade profitably once more and start to recover from 2020.    Without such a plan to reopen, trade viably and give further economic support to stimulate recovery, the BBPA says thousands of local pubs will fail due to their unsustainable debt and cash burn levels, resulting in local jobs and local pubs that are vital to communities throughout the UK being lost for good.    In Q2 2020 alone, which incorporated the first full COVID-19 lockdown, pub beer sales dropped by 96%.    In Q4 2020, when severe time trading and tier restrictions were placed on pubs, as well as a second full lockdown, pub beer sales dropped by 77% in comparison to last year.    Despite being able to open under less restrictions in Q3 2020, a temporary VAT cut on food and soft drinks and the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, pub beer sales were still down 27% for the quarter.      Philip Whitehead, Chairman of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:     “This is not sustainable for our sector. We cannot continue to hold out under these circumstances. We urge the Government to provide clarity to our sector on when it can expect to fully reopen.   “As a sector we have invested hundreds of millions in ensuring that we provide places for people to safely socialise in. When pubs reopened in July we did so safely and successfully to world leading standards.    “When pubs can reopen, the restrictions they face – ranging from the substantial meal rule to the 10pm curfew – must be removed. They simply destroy their ability to operate as viable businesses.    “After nearly a whole year under forced closure, or open but under severe restrictions, pub trade has been decimated and sales of beer in pubs have plummeted by 56%. Furthermore, due to their revenue falling off a cliff in 2020, pubs are holding debt and have little to no cash left. We need the Government to continue to provide financial support for Pubs when they reopen to bridge the gap to full recovery and commit to supporting the beer and pub sector for the long-term with Duty, VAT and Business Rates Reform.    “Pubs need the VAT cut and business rates holiday for hospitality to be extended immediately, as well as a significant beer duty cut. These will provide vital support for pubs and stimulate demand and signal that Britain and its pubs are safe and back open for business.”      Nick Mackenzie, CEO at Greene King, said:     “2020 was a write-off for pubs and the industry needs a clear plan for reopening as soon as it is safe to do so, without complex and unjustified restrictions which would make it unviable to open. We are grateful for the financial support the government has given the sector so far and this has really helped to protect jobs and stave off pub closures, but we urgently need confirmation on additional support given the long-term restrictions that have been placed on our sector.     “Pubs are the heartbeat of their communities and can play a really important role as we emerge from this pandemic, creating significant numbers of jobs and reconnecting people to help tackle social isolation that has affected so many people over the last year. But without publicans having clarity on reopening and additional support, there is a real risk of more viable businesses closing their doors in the weeks and months ahead.”      Kevin Georgel, Chief Executive, St Austell Brewery said:     “Since March, we’ve worked tirelessly and collaboratively to support the battle against Covid-19. We’ve closed our pubs, invested millions in reopening safely and played a responsible role in balancing the public health risk and the economic impact. Despite these efforts, hospitality continues to suffer more than any other industry.     “As one of the West Country’s biggest employers, we urge the Government to provide us with a definitive reopening date to enable us to plan for reopening safely. We also need immediate and long-term financial support, including an extension to the VAT cut and business rates holiday. Finally, we must be able to reopen alongside other non-essential retail and without trading restrictions, that made it impossible for pubs to trade viably when the tier system was in place – including the 10pm curfew and rules involving mixed households and substantial meals.     “The Great British pub is part of our social fabric. It’s far more than just a huge economic contributor. The avoidable loss of these wonderful, historic, community assets will be felt by generations to come, if the Government don’t act now and provide clarity and further support.”      Mark Davies, CEO of Hawthorn, the Community Pub Company with over 700 pubs said:     “As the owner of so many Community Pubs around the UK I cannot empathise enough how important it is that the Government recognises the role that pubs play in so many communities around the UK and that pubs are part of the fabric of our society. It is therefore crucial that immediate financial support is secured for the pub sector with Business rates and Vat an urgent priority and we need a fair and viable roadmap to reopening in a safe and socially responsible way as we did on the 4th July last year when we came out of the first National lockdown. A failure to do this will inevitably lead to business failure, loss of jobs and a destruction of community value in so many locations around the UK.”      William Lees-Jones, Managing Director of JW Lees, said:    “We know that we can re-open safely with all the mitigation that we have put in place. We estimate that the current level of government grants and furlough support have reduced our losses by 50% but, like many breweries, 99% of all JW Lees beer is sold in pubs and more than half through our own 150 pubs in the North West. We can only trade if pubs are open and pubs in our heartland in Greater Manchester have now been closed for 14 weeks since 5th November on top of the 15 weeks from 20th March. This is clearly not sustainable, and we need to learn how to live with the virus as we re-open the country.”   

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