Public called to take action to save pubs across the UK

National charity the Plunkett Foundation has launched a UK-wide public appeal to help save pubs through community ownership before it’s too late.

Pubs are a key part of rural communities, but UK Government restrictions during the Covid crisis have put their future at risk. (Pictured is The Boot Public House in Sarratt, Hertfordshire)

With thousands of pubs across the UK closing or under threat, community owned pubs offer a real life-line for those who want to save their much-loved, local pub. Plunkett Foundation, the national charity dedicated to supporting community businesses, is calling for the UK government and public to take immediate action to support community owned pubs and help save the nation’s pubs before it is too late.

The charity which supports a network of 700 community businesses including 150 community pubs across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has seen a 53% increase in enquiries from groups desperate to save their local pub. It is currently supporting 250 community groups seeking to save their local pub. Throughout the pandemic Plunkett has supported community businesses through expert advice and emergency funding to adapt to restrictions and offer essential services to their local communities.

The Plunkett Foundation has launched its campaign today to put community owned pubs at the heart of helping to save local pubs by publishing its ‘Policy Call to Action’ for government support and appealing to individuals and communities themselves to take action

Its ‘Policy Call to Action’ calls on the government to ensure that community owned pubs survive and thrive now and beyond the Covid-crisis by:

  • Providing absolute clarity in all nations for every phase of reopening pubs
  • Permit the sale of takeaway alcohol in closed containers until pubs are able to fully reopen
  • Extend the business rate relief for hospitality for the whole of 2021/22 financial year, mirroring the support in place in Scotland
  • Extend the 5% VAT rate on food and non-alcoholic drinks for the whole of 2021/2022 financial year
  • Extend the Job Retention Scheme for a further 6 months, or until such a time that pubs are able to trade without restrictions
  • Cut the tax duties paid on beer by 25%

Community owned pubs offer hope to communities desperate to secure their place in the future of their towns and villages, but also those who want a place that is more than a pub – that brings people together, helps address problems of isolation, loneliness and offers much needed job opportunities and training.

As for its public appeal, the Plunkett Foundation is asking the public to help save community owned pubs by:

  • Writing to their MP supporting Plunkett’s ‘Policy Call to Action’ for government action
  • Supporting the community pub movement across the UK by becoming a member of the Plunkett Foundation
  • Supporting our advisory and training service for pubs by donating to its community pubs campaign

The Plunkett Foundation helps communities tackle challenges such as social isolation, employment and poverty by supporting community businesses – including pub, shops, bakeries, farms and woodlands – that are owned and run democratically by members of the community.

Now the charity is committing itself to take action to ensure that through community ownership local pubs and the communities they serve survive the pandemic and continue to thrive in the future.

James Alcock, Plunkett’s chief executive, said: “We need to ensure that our communities are not decimated by the Covid-19 crisis and the closure of their much needed community pubs.”

He added, “Community businesses have been at the forefront of the crisis response, with their dedicated volunteers offering the lifeline services to those most in need. We now need investment and support at a national level to ensure that they survive the pandemic and secure a bright and sustainable future for the communities that depend on them.”

To support Plunkett Foundation’s campaign to save local pubs visit www.plunkett.co.uk

To access free guidance and training and to find out how your community can help to save your local pub visit www.plunkett.co.uk

To donate to support Plunkett helping community pubs visit www.plunkett.co.uk

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