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Catch up with the latest developments involving BII licensee support, taking member statistics to the heart of Government, and interviews with CEO Steven Alton.

Building Confidence in Pubs as Plan A back in effect

Our CEO Steve Alton chatted to Ian Skye on Radio Derbyshire on the 26th January 2022, they were talking about the restrictions lifting and Plan A being in force. Masks and other restrictions are now voluntary in our pubs, and this is the beginning of a long recovery for many of our members.

"Pubs are probably now the only place in our communities that’re fully accessible and allowing people all to come together…it’s an important moment where really we get back to the one thing our members always wanted which is to trade freely and without restrictions. THEN they can take stock and begin to rebuild their businesses”

Click here to listen to the interview

Letter to Members with 'Rebuilding your Business' Survey results February 2022

Last week, we asked our BII Members to complete a survey to give us insight into the realities for your businesses, following the disruption caused by the Omicron variant at Christmas and the full year of restrictions and lockdowns of 2021.

As always, your support in helping us gather this information is hugely appreciated, and has given us a clear picture to take to Government as they plan for the Spring Budget.

The results confirm many of the challenges that we were aware you were facing thanks to your responses to previous surveys over the course of the pandemic, but there are also some new and stark headlines about the very real danger that our sector is currently facing.

As always, we share these results with you, our members, first. You can read the press release that we will be sending out today, as well as the full report of results and our letter to the Chancellor, calling for the urgent interim support needed for your businesses.

Our survey also covered the support and services that we offer to you, our members, and we will be sharing the full results of that next week, but the whole team here are incredibly pleased to see that 95% of you would still recommend membership of the BII to other licensed trade professionals.

As a professional membership organisation and charity that exists to support you as licensees and the wider industry, your feedback is vital to ensure we continue to develop the help and guidance that we provide. You will be seeing lots of new additions to our support services going forward, based on what you have told us is important to you.

We will continue to update you on our progress with Government in terms of support you will need from them, as well as the development of the Hospitality Strategy via our place on the Hospitality Sector Council.

In the meantime, the team are here for you from Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm on 01276 684449 or [email protected], and you can access online support, 24 hours a day at www.bii.org.

Many thanks again for your continued support.

View the survey results here
Read the letter to Rishi Sunak here

Government Support for Pubs

With the recent announcements from Government, and the continuous media speculation about the spread of Omicron across the UK, the key Christmas trading period has now been lost for many of you. All this at a time when you needed to maximise on every opportunity, filling your pubs with festive parties, dinner bookings and welcoming groups of friends and families to reconnect with each other.

Dear BII Members,

I wanted to write to you as we reach the last few days before Christmas, to update you on our actions at this critical time for your businesses.

The festive season represents, for many pubs, almost a quarter of your annual profits in a very short space of time, no matter what type of venue you run. Not only has trade been lost through reduced footfall & cancellations of large parties, you have also been left with fridges full of food and cellars stocked with beer in preparation for welcoming your customers at this vital time of year.

Regardless of the fact that our venues have not been mandated to close, the impact of the caution urged by the Prime Minister and his officials around socialising has been devastating for the hospitality sector in particular. Similarly, the tightening of restrictions developing in the devolved nations, has seen our Welsh and Scottish members heavily impacted.

We know from our survey last week, that the fall in revenue in comparison to 2019 has been drastic for the majority of members, and even since that report, we have seen a continued decline in visits to your pubs, as the public return to working from home once more.

The cash flow crisis in this short space of time cannot be underestimated. You prepared your kitchens, cellars and staff for the busiest period of trading, to help build your resilience into the quieter winter months, and are now left with severely reduced income.

We have been in constant communication with Ministers and officials across all areas of Government, taking your collective voice, but also your individual stories of business fragility, to call for the support that will be needed to enable your businesses to survive and begin your recovery once more in 2022.

We are encouraged by the support announced today by the Chancellor, recognising once more that your pubs are being disproportionately impacted, but are fully aware that this does not compensate you for the lost revenues over the Christmas trading period. Initial announcements are:

  • Businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises, plus more than £100 million discretionary funding will be made available for local authorities to support other businesses.
  • Government will also cover the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences for small and medium-sized employers across the UK.

The grants will be based on rateable value as with previous deliveries: 

  • Up to £15k rateable value - £2.7k
  • Up to £51k rateable value - £4k
  • Over £51k rateable value - £6k

As ever, the delivery of any support is key in terms of speed and scale, and we are calling on Government to ensure that the cash grants are delivered automatically to venues who have already met the criteria previously set.

We will continue to push hard for your venues to stay open, allowing you to continue to trade freely and fully and we will also be ensuring that the case for medium term support continues to be prioritised, including, but not limited to: 

  • Full suspension of Business rates – the lost revenues from December trading means that many will have no funds to pay business rates, even at the reduced rate announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget.
  • Continued VAT reduction at 12.5% needed through to Summer 2022 at least – whilst hugely helpful for food led venues whilst you are trading, this reduction must now be in place for longer to enable you time to feel the benefit when trade returns to your pubs.

Amidst the huge uncertainty facing your pubs at this time, we want you to know we are doing all we can to support you, both with Government and also with clear, actionable information as and when we have more clarity about any potential restrictions.

Our team have pulled together Support Guides for England, Scotland and Wales, and we have FAQs, all of which are being constantly updated as we get more information to help you navigate the current situation.

We are awaiting the official guidance from Government so that we can give you the detail you will need to claim the grants.

If you don’t already do so, please follow us on social media to get the most up-to-date information as and when we have it. Links for all of our platforms can be seen below.

Our offices will be closed over Christmas, but we will continue to support you remotely via our Expert Helplines and online over the festive period.

Steven Alton

 BII CEO

BII Welcomes Chancellor's Support for Pubs This Christmas

The Chancellor has today announced further immediate support for Great British Pubs, with cash grants to ease the devastating impact of reduced Christmas trade.

Amongst the support being given are the following:

  • Businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises, plus more than £100 million discretionary funding will be made available for local authorities to support other businesses.
  • Government will also cover the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences for small and medium-sized employers across the UK.
  • £30 million further funding will be made available through the Culture Recovery Fund, enabling more cultural organisations in England to apply for support during the winter.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak said:

“We recognise that the spread of the Omicron variant means businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors are facing huge uncertainty, at a crucial time. So we’re stepping in with £1 billion of support, including a new grant scheme, the reintroduction of the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme and further funding released through the Culture Recovery Fund.

“Ultimately the best thing we can do to support businesses is to get the virus under control, so I urge everyone to Get Boosted Now.”

Steven Alton BII CEO said:

“It is encouraging to see the Chancellor once again recognising the unique part that pubs play in both the economy and in every community. The support he has announced is hugely welcomed as our members running pubs across the UK are now struggling to pay the bills with reduced levels of trade. They are facing increased costs through inflation and with most of our members having built up over £50,000 of pandemic specific debts, they now have extensive debt repayments to be made.

“Critical to their short term survival is cash flow and this support in the form of cash grants is hugely welcomed. They will however, now need ongoing support particularly with business rates and an extended period of low VAT as their recovery will be significantly extended due to the lost trade from Christmas.”

Steven Alton

BII CEO

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