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BBPA says curfew will devastate pub sector without additional financial support

The British Beer and Pubs Association (BBPA) has responded to the curfew placed on pubs ahead of announcement expected later today from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive, said, 'As an industry we recognise the need to continue to support the Government and local communities to manage the risk of rising infection rates.

'We take our responsibilities in helping to curb the spread of COVID-19 incredibly seriously and pubs have adapted well to the 'new normal' over the past few months and will continue to do so, creating safe environments for socialising. A curfew is particularly heart-breaking for those pubs in areas where infection rates remain under control.

'There seems to be little available evidence that pubs, with their strict adherence to Government guidelines, are unsafe, so we are unsure that this blanket measure will make a major difference.'

McClarkin continued, “Make no mistake, a 10pm curfew will devastate our sector during an already challenging environment for pubs. Pubs were struggling to break even before today and these latest restrictions will push some to breaking point. Removing a key trading hour on top of fragile consumer confidence and the reduced capacity pubs already face will put thousands more pubs and jobs at risk.

“During the current circumstances every hour of trading it crucial to the survival of pubs – for many this curfew will render their businesses unviable.

“The Government now needs to act fast in putting together a comprehensive support package to ensure that thousands of pubs don't close their doors for good because of this curfew.'

McClarkin concluded, 'We need an immediate sector specific furlough scheme to save the hundreds of thousands of jobs that pubs support, extended VAT cuts and business rates holiday and a substantial cut to the rate of beer duty in the Autumn Budget. Only a comprehensive support package like this will save thousands of pubs and many more pub jobs.”