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Pubs urgently need finance, warns BBPA

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has warned that pubs are in “desperate need” of access to finance in light of the ongoing crisis. 

The group is now calling for a faster delivery of government-backed loans and grants, with 75% of pubs still waiting on loans and more than half of pubs yet to receive the grants they are eligible for.

The findings, which come from a BBPA survey, show that many UK pubs are struggling to access financial support they have been promised, which is “leaving many under intense strain and in real jeopardy of closing”, according to the group.

Members of the trade association were asked if they had received the £10,000 or £25,000 grant, or if their application for finance had been successful.

Some 58% of leased and tenanted pubs were yet to receive the £10,000 grant they were eligible for, whilst 61% of pubs had not yet received a £25,000 grant they were eligible for. 

The BBPA also warned there was a “postcode lottery” on the delivery of grants, with the pay-out rate “wildly varying” between different local authorities.

Meanwhile, only 25% of respondents have been told that their application to government-backed loans has been successful. However, of the applications made by individual pub lessees and tenants, only 11% have been successful.

In light of the findings, the BBPA is now “urgently pressing” the government to speed up the delivery of finance and grants and increase the number of loans and grants offered to pubs.

Emma McClarkin, CEO of the BBPA, said: “Pubs and breweries have large costs to cover, so they are experiencing significant cash flow issues. How can the government expect them to survive the COVID-19 lockdown without this vital financial support?

“If the government doesn’t take decisive action now to both widen and speed up the delivery of grant payments and their loans, then pubs and breweries are at real risk of not surviving the lockdown and jobs will be lost across the UK.”

She added: “We welcome the introduction of the ‘Bounce Back Loan’ scheme to specifically help small businesses, but ask that pub and brewery applications are prioritised and processed quickly.

“For the sake of all the communities across the UK our pubs and breweries serve – and the 900,000 people employed by them – the government cannot allow them to close. The UK’s 47,000 pubs urgently need the support they have been promised. The government must deliver it now.”

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