Saturday, August 8, 2020
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Coronavirus: Lockdown wipes £30bn from UK pubs and restaurants

Coronavirus: Lockdown wipes £30bn from UK pubs and restaurants
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Sales at pubs, restaurants and hotels across the UK plunged by £30bn during lockdown, according to the hospitality sector.

UK Hospitality said that revenues plummeted by 87% between April and June, compared to the same period last year.

Boss Kate Nicholls said it shows many firms still need government support.

The trade body says sales for the three-month period came to £4.6bn, £29.6bn lower than in 2019.

Last year the hospitality industry contributed £38bn in tax receipts, a figure that will be substantially lower for 2020.

Before coronavirus hit, the hospitality sector employed 3.2m people.

Hospitality closures since lockdown:

While some pubs sold takeaway meals and drinks during lockdown, many were closed from 23 March until 4 July.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said the dramatic fall in sales demonstrates government assistance for the industry’s 65,000 businesses is vital.

“These figures substantiate our message that businesses still need support from government, if we want to avoid more business failures and job losses.

“While it’s great that some businesses are trading again, for many opening their doors remains unviable, while some parts of hospitality are still legally required to stay closed,” she said.

Image caption

Graham and Janette Browett run the Five Lamps pub in Derby

Graham Browett runs the Five Lamps Pub in Derby. His 15 staff were furloughed during lockdown, but the pub didn’t qualify for the government’s business support grant.

He said the pub decided offering takeaway meals wouldn’t work, so there was zero revenue coming in for three months, although he did get a rent holiday from the owner.

“Our chef had just put on a new menu that was quite fancy and you couldn’t serve it out of plastic containers,” he said.

Mr Browett said the pub is now bringing in about 80% of the weekly revenue that it earned before lockdown.

“There’s still a certain reticence. A lot of our customers are elderly, so we’ve gained the younger element but the older ones are still frightened,” he said.

The pub plans to take up the government’s Eat Out To Help Out discounted meals scheme in August.

“It’s an opportunity for us to push our new menu,” Mr Browett said.

And his outlook for the pub beyond that? “Tell me when the vaccine’s coming,” he said.



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