The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pubs (Pubs APPG) is sharing quotes from landlords and pub-goers to highlight the devastating impact that the pandemic has had on Britain’s pubs.
Today was meant to be the much-awaited ‘Freedom Day’ when restrictions were finally lifted, but spread of the Delta variant of the virus has out paid to that.
The cross-party group of pub-supporting MPs has been holding an inquiry into the impact of the pandemic on pubs, and some of it makes for grim reading.
Now that there’s confirmation that restrictions on pubs in England will be in place for another four weeks, the Pubs APPG believes it is more important than ever that these voices are heard.
Chair, Charlotte Nichols MP, said: “During the initial call for evidence of the Pubs APPG inquiry into pubs and the pandemic, we heard from thousands of landlords, pub-goers, and organisations about the devastating financial and community effects of restrictions and lockdowns over the last year.
“Without a new support package, the delay in easing lockdown could see thousands of pubs closing, and thousands of landlords losing their livelihoods. It’s vital that pubs are given the government support they need to survive the next month.
“The Pubs APPG will be holding oral evidence sessions and publishing a full report with recommendations on how the trade can be supported, in the coming weeks. Until then, we’ll be sharing some of the heart-breaking responses we’ve received so far, with landlords telling in their own words just how crucial clear guidance and support is for their businesses.”
What people are saying
“We have spent a great deal of money on altering our pub to enable us to trade safely. This has not been appreciated. We were first to be closed down and last to be allowed to open. Not fair at all.” Licensee
“[The government] think we sell food and drink. We don’t — proper pubs sell social cohesion. The value of that should not be underestimated — we will be paying the cost of mental illness for years.” Licensee
“I have felt very isolated at times, even though I have had lots of online meetings with friends. I particularly miss the people you don’t know well enough to have their phone number etc, but enjoy exchanging a few words with every once in a while, as well as all the random people you chat to in a pub but perhaps never ever see again. Also, it has been much harder to get to know people who have recently moved into the area. As a result, my circle of local contacts has shrunk as people have passed away or moved away but not been replaced with new friends.” Consumer
“Pubs are more than just a place to drink. They form part of the social infrastructure communities rely on, not just to socialise in, but also to rally around in times of need. Particularly in rural and often remote areas, a local pub can serve as a community hub, in the absence of any other venues, or means of accessing these by public transport. These community hubs can act as centres for volunteering initiatives, combat loneliness and isolation, link up with local charities, and provide services and amenities that benefit the community’s wellbeing, such as a community garden and club meetings. Pubs also boost the local economy by sourcing produce locally, and provide jobs and employment skills where there are few other options available locally, which is particularly important to young people.” The Plunkett Foundation
• More quotations can be found on the Pubs APPG’s Twitter account.