Furlough scheme announcement could spell death knell for pubs
Responding to the announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that under the furlough scheme businesses will be asked to contribute national insurance and pension contributions from August, 10% of wages in September and 20% of wages in October, CAMRA Chief Executive Tom Stainer said:
“The lockdown has brought home just how important local pubs are to communities and in tackling loneliness and social isolation. It is vital that we give pubs the support they need to be able to survive and thrive in the months and years ahead.
“The introduction of flexibility in the furlough scheme that will allow people to work part time is welcome news for pubs and their staff. However, the harsh reality of this announcement is that many pubs just won’t be able to pay towards wages, National Insurance and pension contributions on top of existing costs and during periods of reduced trade due to social distancing measures reducing capacity.
“Those smaller pubs that are unsuitable for social distancing, as well as those in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales that might not be able to re-open until much later in the year, won’t have any income at all to pay these extra staff costs.
“This will leave pubs with an impossible choice between taking on more debt, letting staff go, or calling it a day and closing down their businesses for good.
“The Government should look again at this announcement and consider applying a flexible furlough arrangement for pubs until later in the year, helping them survive restricted re-openings. Otherwise I fear we will see many jobs lost and pubs not being able to survive and having to close for good.”