14th December 2020
There’s been some commentary recently suggesting that it doesn’t matter if wet-led pubs go to the wall.
I run a business called Admiral Taverns and we operate mainly small, tenanted, community pubs, mostly very successful prior to COVID.
They often succeed because they are a vital community hub that provides social value alleviating loneliness and raising millions for charity as well as serving alcohol and soft drinks. They bring communities together to celebrate and commiserate during tough times.
During the first lockdown they excelled at feeding the vulnerable, key NHS workers and the young, looked out for the elderly, and often organised the community to support each other.
Unfortunately, many may not survive the pandemic and the community will be all the poorer. Wet-led pubs have now been closed for over 140 days since March, many for longer under local restrictions.
They received no benefit from VAT cuts (food only) or the Eat Out To Help Out scheme. They want to safely trade out of the situation, but the government won’t allow it. And remember, some are also the family home upstairs, so when they close not only does the community lose a pub, but the licensees also lose their home.
And it’s not just a concern for men, as some have suggested. Many of these community pubs are run by female licensees, entrepreneurs who in our experience are setting a great example to the young women in their neighbourhood and who are now becoming desperate to save their business and home. They need help and consideration.
Chris Jowsey, Admiral Taverns, Hexham, Northumbs.