Thousands of UK pubs will disappear without bailout, brewing industry warns.

Thousands of pubs will close for good unless a brewing trade association has warned, after the government said pubs would be among the last businesses to reopen once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

Following speculation that pubs wouldn’t be pulling pint again until Christmas, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said “extra support” would be required for the industry to survive.

The BBPA is calling for a “lifeline to keep those pubs and brewers afloat” so they are able to serve their communities across the UK once the COVID-19 crisis has passed.

In a letter the government, the BBPA said the furlough scheme to help businesses pay staff would need to be made available to pub owners for longer. Business rates relief could also be extended to 10,000 pubs that were currently ineligible, the BBPA said.

The BBPA has written to business minister Alok Sharma calling him to take urgent action in tackling the gaps in support facing pubs and brewers over Covid-19.

The letter reiterates the industry call to ease the cash flow crisis facing breweries, who saw between 50-70 per cent of their market disappear last month, calling for the Government to issue a blanket deferral for April’s beer duty payment, and that for the following quarter

BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “We’re extremely grateful to the Government for listening to the needs of our sector and delivering the support they have given to pubs and brewers so far.

“There are still over 10,000 pubs which currently aren’t eligible for any Government grants. Even for those pubs that are eligible for grants, they can’t come soon enough. Brewers too need more support in the form of a duty deferral to free up much needed cash during this crisis.

“Pubs may have to remain closed longer than any other business, so it is imperative the Government tackles the gaps in support facing our industry.

“If the Government makes these interventions, we are pressing them for, it will help keep pubs and brewers afloat, so they can re-open and serve their communities once more when we are through this.”

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