BBPA calls for next PM to help pubs through ‘turbulent times’

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has requested that the next Conservative leader provides support for “this iconic section of British culture”.

The open letters, addressed to Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss separately, follow on from a letter BBPA co-signed asking the current Government to act on energy costs.

In the letters, CEO Emma McClarkin acknowledged the “real grit and resilience” businesses displayed throughout the pandemic, but stated: “The coming months could be some of the hardest yet for our pubs and brewers as price rises, labour shortages and consumers increasingly tightening their belts makes just breaking even the most acute of challenges.”

The integrity of pubs to other sectors of the economy, as well as British society, was highlighted: “The country’s pubs and brewing industry are a major part of the economic and social fabric of communities across the country, adding millions of pounds in value to local economies throughout the length and breadth of the UK”.

The importance of pubs to the younger generation was also pointed out: “Over 40% of those employed across the whole sector are 16-24 year olds, providing a vital source of employment for young people and an early introduction to the world of work.”

While McClarkin thanked the Government for its “support…provided through the pandemic”, she requested: “headroom to recover and grow.” The letter concludes with a request for: “an urgent roundtable, so that we can secure the future of thousands of individual business…”

BBPA revealed the following specific proposals to WLC: “As well as calling for the new PM to convene a summit of business leaders to reach a collective agreement about a path forward, we are also calling for a cut to beer duty, reduced business rates for pubs and an urgent energy price cap for small businesses”.

In an appearance on ITV News, Inception Group co-founder Charlie Gilkes also pleaded with the candidates to pledge support for the hospitality industry, proposing a VAT cut and changing the visa system to stem worsening labour shortages.

Neither of the two leadership hopefuls has responded to the BBPA letter yet.

Sunak and Truss’ jostling for the Tory leadership has descended into a bitter fight for Number 10, with wine duties potentially being another point of contention.

This article was originally published by the drinks business and has been shared with permission.

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