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Nearly three-quarters of the pubs promised a £1,000 grant by the prime minister to help them survive the loss of Christmas sales in England are still waiting for the money, the industry trade body has warned.
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said it was “scandalous” that many of its members were still awaiting cash promised in December, warning that much of the industry was on the verge of financial ruin.
The grants, which local councils have been asked to distribute, were intended to help “wet-led” pubs, which do not serve food and instead rely on alcohol sales, leaving them particularly exposed to Covid-19 restrictions. Venues that did not serve food were unable to open over the traditionally lucrative Christmas period.
The BBPA also said more than half of the grants introduced to support pubs through the tier restrictions and November lockdown were also yet to be paid.
“Months have passed by yet still thousands of pubs are waiting on the grants they have been promised,” said the BBPA chief executive, Emma McClarkin. “These grants are a vital lifeline, but only when delivered.
“It is unbelievable that so many pubs are still waiting on their Christmas grants and grants for the second lockdown. Considering we are now in a third lockdown it is scandalous.
“Publicans across the country are desperately checking their bank accounts every minute of every day to see if they have got their payment. Our sector is hanging by a thread, so for many pubs getting these grants is the difference between surviving or closing for good.
“The prime minister personally promised some of these grants for wet-led pubs. We implore him to now intervene and ensure his promise is delivered.”
The grants are funded by government and are meant to be distributed by 314 local authorities, each of which have different systems in place for doing so.
McClarkin said central government needed to work with local authorities to ensure the money reaches struggling businesses faster.
A government spokesperson said: “We understand these are extremely challenging circumstances for businesses. We are working closely with local authorities, who are responsible for administering these grants, to ensure that funds are paid out as quickly as possible to those that need it.”
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Most non-food pubs in England still awaiting £1,000 Covid grants | Business