Tuesday 1 December 2020 / 4:52 PM Business / Lucy Powell

Last-minute payment for pubs forced to close will leave most more than £3,000 a month worse off

Labour has revealed that Boris Johnson’s last-minute one-off payment announced today for pubs that are forced to close because they don’t serve food will leave the vast majority seriously struggling and well short of the emergency cash offered during the first national lockdown.

This will hit businesses in the North and Midlands particularly hard. Almost 90 per cent of pubs and bars in Tier 3 areas are in the North and Midlands and 50 per cent of all pubs and bars in Tier 2 or Tier 3 areas are in the North and Midlands.

The average pub received a grant worth £6,666 a month during the lockdown in March. Even after today’s announcement of an additional one-off payment, pubs forced to close will receive just £3,000 a month –  £3,666 less than they did during the first lockdown. The payment is a one-off and there was no mention of what will happen after January.

Restaurants and cafes, also hit hard by public health restrictions, received no additional support today – with the vast majority still receiving just a third or half of what they received in the March lockdown.

Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Business and Consumers, said:

“Pubs across the country are facing tough restrictions to help tackle the virus, with many forced to close completely during the most crucial time of year for their trade.

“This last-minute emergency payment for pubs could have been a lifeline. Instead it’s small beer that won’t even reach the sides of the income gap they’re facing.

“With a far greater number of pubs facing the toughest restrictions in the North and Midlands, Boris Johnson’s failure to properly support them is fundamentally unfair and makes a mockery of his promise to these communities.”