25,000 pub staff in region not able to work this month due to Tier restrictions

More than 25,000 pub staff in the West Midlands will not be able to work over the festive period, figures reveal.

The closures will lead to tens of millions of pounds in lost turnover, according to research released today by the British Beer and Pub Association.

The trade body today warned of “carnage” across the industry unless the Government acts immediately.

The BBPA estimates 15,679 pub staff in the Black Country and Birmingham will be affected in December, as around 1,200 venues in the area shut their doors.

Pubs in those areas stand to lose £54.3 million in turnover based on estimates of usual takings for the month.

In Staffordshire, 11,534 pub staff will be affected as 973 venues close their doors. They stand to lose £45.5 million.

Under Tier 3 ‘Very High Alert’ restrictions, pubs and bars have to close except for takeaway and delivery services.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a one-off £1,000 ‘Christmas grant’ to support pubs in Tier 2 and 3, but it has been described as “meagre amount” that will make little difference.

Calls were made today for £1.3 billion being repaid to the Government by big supermarkets in business rate relief to be transferred to the hospitality industry.

Ryan Hunt, chairman of Dudley and South Staffordshire Campaign for Real Ale, said there is insufficient evidence to “justify these restrictions” on Tier 3 pubs, while Cannock Chase Camra urged the Government to urgently introduce a long-term financial support package for those forced to close.

Mr Hunt said: “Insufficient evidence has been produced to justify these restrictions on hospitality, especially wet-led pubs.

Isolation

"The fact that people will not be able to socialise safely in Covid-secure pubs in the run up to Christmas will further exacerbate feelings of social isolation.

"A one-off £1,000 grant is simply not enough to compensate our public houses.”

A spokesman for Cannock Chase Camra said: “Pubs are at the heart of our communities and part of the fabric of our national identity so the £1,000 one off grant isn’t enough to compensate.

"The Government should urgently introduce a new long term financial support package for these pubs who are forced to close at what should be their busiest time of the year.”

Matt Ward, who owns New Hall Arms in Cannock, said: "I'm just frustrated by the decisions made to keep pubs like ours closed when we've jumped through all the hoops for the Government.

"We've set up protective screens, bought PPE for the staff, spent lots on making the place safe and yet we stay closed while supermarkets and shops are allowed to be open.

"I hope that pubs, during the next election, ban politicians wanting a picture behind a bar from their premises as they haven't supported us at such a difficult time."

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, warned: “It is very serious. The future of hundreds of breweries, thousands of pubs and tens of thousands of jobs hang in the balance.”

Staying closed is ‘devastating’

Paula Herbert, manageress of the Bird in Hand, said there was a real sense of frustration with the government

The festive season will feel like a very different time this year for pubs operating under Tier 3.

Under the latest restrictions, pubs will not be able to open except for takeaways and deliveries.

The effect is being felt by across the region, with many standing to lose thousands of pounds in revenue during one of the busiest times of the year. The Bird in Hand, in Wordsley, was named community pub of the year by Dudley and South Staffordshire Camra in March.

Manageress Paula Herbert said there was a real sense of frustration with the government about its handling of restrictions and the pub industry was being unfairly treated.

“We have done everything asked of us and the government have not provided any evidence to suggest why the hospitality sector has to stay closed,” she said.

“When you consider shops are packed, for us to remain closed like this is just devastating.”

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