It’s clear why many publicans are looking to exit the trade following the lockdown.
65% of our respondents are in a pub owned by a regulated pub company. 217 of them have emerged from the lockdown owing more than £5,000 in rent and a massive 142 pubs currently owe over £10,000 in rent.
148 pubs reported they’ve accrued £2,000 in charges like maintenance and cellar cooling. 169 pubs reported they have lost over £2,000 in wasted stock and 135 spending over £1,000 in COVID-19 safety measures, while only 55% of those surveyed received the full £25,000 grant support.
39% of respondents did not open on the 4th July for a variety of reasons, mainly based on not being able to deliver a safe environment for staff and customers, or because it was not economically viable to do so with safety measures in place.
Those that did open on the 4th July reported a dramatic drop in year on year takings with 55.8% of pubs experiencing a 50% reduction in trade compared to the same period last year.
Respondents also reported an increase in the overall cost of operating with the new safety measures in place. Over 75% felt that their turnover would remain down and costs would rise in the coming summer weeks. Most had satisfied local authorities with their safety measures, with only 3% needing to make major changes.
Significantly, looking at the Chancellor’s latest statement and probably reflecting the situation with the majority of the regulated pub company licensees and the wet-led nature of the pubs who responded to our survey, only 34% felt the reduction in VAT would help their business and only 41% will be registering for the “Eat Out To Help Out Scheme”.
Critically, almost 90% of surveyed pubs are worried they won’t be able to service their debts and 84% feel less confident about being open in a years’ time, which reflects the issues the Forum have been highlighting to the Government about the weaknesses in the trade and, in particular, the regulated pub companies business model for the pubs they own.
We need to make the Pubs Code work, change the powers and approach of the Pubs Code Adjudicator. At the Forum, we believe it’s high time that the tie was reviewed as it currently underpins an unfair and unbalanced business model which is failing as a result.
We have joined forces with the Pubs Advisory Service to call for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to launch an inquiry to tackle the unfairness in the wholesale beer market and to restore fair and lawful competition to the pub industry.
Sign the petition here: www.change.org/p/cma-competition-market-authority-call-for-a-competition-inquiry-uk-pubs
If you are a publican that needs business support and wants to be part of a collective voice to bring change to the pub industry, join the Forum of British Pubs today.