CAMRA says new hospitality support package first step in right direction

Campaign for Real Ale's National Chairman has responded to the announcement of financial support from the UK Government for businesses affected by the Omicron variant.

Nik Antona said, 'Today’s announcement of grants of up to £6,000 and some help with staff sick pay will certainly be welcomed by publicans up and down the country.

'It is a first step in the right direction – and important recognition from ministers that the actions of government have massively hit consumer confidence, footfall and the ability for businesses to turn a profit at what should be their busiest time of the year.'

Antona continued, “Sadly for some pubs that have already closed their doors due to cancellations and a huge drop in trade, this support will be too late.

'Whilst the grants announced today may help businesses through the next few weeks, it will not make up for losing out on the Christmas trade which is vital for keeping pubs and breweries going during the quiet months at the start of the year.

“In addition to getting these grants paid to licensees as quickly as possible, it is vital that local councils in England use their discretionary funding to support breweries, cider producers and other businesses in the supply chain who have also been affected.

“Businesses still desperately need certainty on what might happen next. If further restrictions are going to be imposed there needs to be enough time for pubs and breweries to plan and prepare.

Antona ended, 'In the face of any restrictions on trading, the sector will also need a comprehensive support package over and above what has been announced today, including further employment support through furlough, rent support and business rate relief to support and safeguard our locals.”