“CAMRA welcomes the move by businesses such as Admiral Taverns and Fullers to cancel rent for their pub tenants in recognition of the unique circumstances we are in.
“We are now calling on other pub owning businesses to follow those examples and listen to the concerns of tenants, and of pubgoers who want their locals to survive this crisis.
“Pub owning companies must cancel rents during this period – deferring until a later date simply doesn’t go far enough. Rent for publicans is based on turnover so it makes sense that when a pub is closed and doesn’t have a turnover they shouldn’t have to pay any rent.
“The Government is rightly offering support to pub owning companies with financial and employment schemes so that staff can still be paid and so that businesses can re-open once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. It is only right that support is passed down to individual licensees in the form of rent holidays to protect their pubs and livelihoods.”
Following Government advice to avoid pubs and other social venues during the Coronavirus outbreak, CAMRA has partnered with the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) and Crowdfunder to help pubs, clubs, breweries, taprooms and cider producers during these difficult times.
The #PullingTogether campaign aims to publicise innovative ways that pubs, breweries, cider makers and taprooms are staying afloat, such as by launching a new online shop, offering beer or cider takeaways or providing redeemable gift vouchers for locals. It also hopes to put the public in touch with local initiatives in their community.
CAMRA is inviting pubs, brewers and cider makers to get involved, the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) is encouraging independent breweries to sign up, and Crowdfunder is helping these pubs and breweries tap into their community for financial help to weather the crisis.
Pubs, brewers and taprooms can submit initiatives by visiting www.camra.org.uk/pullingtogether/ – an online platform where the public can also visually search for initiatives near them.
CAMRA is also concerned about the impact of social isolation and distancing at a time when people need it most, and has also set up an online Facebook group for the public called Pulling Together for Pubs, Pints & People, where it hopes to host virtual pub quizzes, beer o’clock and other virtual events.
CAMRA’s National Chairman Nik Antona said: “These are unprecedented times in the brewing, cider and pub industry, and it is now that we all have to pull together to help keep the UK’s producers and pubs afloat.
“We want to connect people with pubs as well as beer and cider producers in their area so that they can purchase great beer or a hot meal locally, rather than relying on the supermarket. This could end up being a real lifeline for people who are unable to get a delivery slot and could help ease some of the stress and burden of self-isolating during these troubling times.
“Pubs and breweries need our help now more than ever – without a strong show of support from local communities, many are destined for permanent closure.”
SIBA’s Chief Executive James Calder said: “This is the single biggest threat to the beer and pubs industry in a lifetime and we are doing everything we can to help pubs, independent breweries, and supplier companies weather the storm and come out the other side. We are delighted to be working with CAMRA on this cross-industry campaign and would encourage every brewery in the UK to get involved and engage with people in their local area keen to support them. Independent breweries are embedded in their communities and keeping that link between people and their local brewery taproom or pub during the Coronavirus outbreak is hugely important.”
CAMRA will also be working with Crowdfunder to promote opportunities for the brewing and pubs industry to tap into local funding during the period of crisis to tide them over. The idea is simple, breweries and pubs that will be suffering from closure and drastically reduced trade about their future can set-up a Pay it Forward campaign offering customers the option to pay for pints, meals and tickets now, which can be redeemed in the future.
Rob Love, Founder and CEO of Crowdfunder explains: “This is a really difficult time for everyone and there are lots of different things people are worried about including their jobs. One thing people can do, if they can afford it, is support local businesses. Through Pay it Forward, we are committed to throwing Crowdfunder’s resources behind keeping business alive through this crisis.”
To find out more, visit www.camra.org.uk/pullingtogether/ or search on social media using the hashtag #pullingtogether
Following the Chancellor’s announced measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, please find below comment from CAMRA’s National Chairman, Nik Antona:
“The Government’s announced measures to mitigate the devasting impact of COVID-19 do not go far enough in ensuring no pub, club or brewery goes out of business as a result of the current crisis.
“While a business rate holiday for all hospitality businesses and rate relief for eligible pubs will help alleviate some costs, this will do little to compensate for the potential collapse of cashflow in businesses which customers have been told to stay away from. Making loans to businesses with no money coming in and multiple overheads to meet through a period of no, or low trading, is simply kicking the can down the road.
“We would urge additional measures to cover all liabilities, however long the restrictions on pubs, to ensure these vital businesses can emerge unsaddled by debt and able to deliver the many benefits to the communities they serve.”
The Campaign for Real Ale, which runs over 180 local beer festivals across the country, has cancelled all events – including local beer festivals – planned between now and the end of June following recent government advice on mass gathering.
All physical events, festivals and meetings, from branch to national levels, have been cancelled for an initial three-month period, with further cancellations to be considered regularly as the situation evolves.
Nik Antona, CAMRA National Chairman said: “While we understand the important social benefits of CAMRA and the huge pleasure in pub going, we feel it would be highly irresponsible to continue to promote gatherings of people in pubs – both of which have been advised against by the Government. We will, of course, be looking into what campaigning measure we can take to help support the British beer and pub industry during this unsettling time – and would repeat our calls for the Government to put together a support package to support the pub and brewery trade during this period.”
Notable events that have been cancelled include the inaugural Great Welsh Beer Festival, which was to make its debut in Cardiff from 22-25 April, as well as the Members’ Weekend, Conference and AGM due to take place in York from 3-5 April.
CAMRA’s flagship festival, the Great British Beer Festival, is currently under review as it is due to take place at Olympia, London from 4-8 August.
Nik Antona said: “It is with a heavy heart that we have made the decision to cancel a total of 45 beer festivals between now and the end of June. Every beer festival is run by a team of dedicated volunteers, and we deeply appreciate their hard work and support during this difficult time.
“While current Government advice is that all social gatherings should be avoided in the short term, we’d like to encourage all beer-lover and pub-goers to investigate ways to continue supporting the industry, whether that be ordering their brews online from independent retailers or supporting pub crowdfunding campaigns to keep afloat.”
More information on CAMRA events and activity will be provided as the situation unfolds.
Following the announcement that pubs can operate as takeaways during the COVID-19 pandemic (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-grant-permission-for-pubs-and-restaurants-to-operate-as-takeaways-as-part-of-coronavirus-response), please find below a comment from CAMRA National Chairman Nik Antona:
“We welcome any relaxation of regulations that will give pubs the best chance to survive this crisis. Allowing pubs to become takeaways for hot food is a good first step. It can also be a much-needed lifeline for many people who may otherwise not be able to access a meal due to supermarket shortages or self-isolation.
“However, we would also like to see pubs allowed to sell alcohol to take away so that they can keep trading. We also hope that the local community helps keep these pubs trading by utilising takeaways, rather than relying on supermarket booze. We would also like to see small and independent breweries sell directly to the public to give them a chance of survival through this period of restriction.
“CAMRA will be working with the trade to help highlight innovative ways that the public can continue to support their local pubs and breweries during these difficult times.”
Responding to the Prime Minister’s calls for the public to avoid pubs and other social outlets during the COVID-19 outbreak, CAMRA’s National Chairman Nik Antona said:
“Pubs are at the heart of many communities and often provide other vital services. The advice from the Government for people to avoid pubs will have a devastating effect on the pub and brewing industry, the many millions of people it employs and the huge contribution it makes to local and national economies. The lack of decisive instruction from the Government leaves pubs in a limbo where customers will abandon them, but they’ll be unable to claim insurance or other support to help them survive. The Government has not defined how long people should stay away from pubs, but be in no doubt, within a short time many pubs and breweries will close and never reopen to serve their communities.
“If the Government believes people should not go to pubs, it needs to show leadership by clearly telling pubs to close their doors – and not unfairly leave it up to licensees to make an impossible decision. It needs to makes it clear for how long a period the enforced closure should last, and quickly deliver a package of support to see pubs and breweries through until they can again deliver the host of benefits pubs bring to the communities they serve.
“This should include, but not be limited to: extending business rate relief to all pubs, regardless of rateable value; deferring or forgiving VAT payments; covering staff salaries; allowing pubs to stay open if they provide other vital community services such as post office facilities; and helping pubs recover at the end of the crisis by introducing a differential rate of duty on draught beer served in pubs.
“We’d also call on pub companies to support their tenants by giving them a rent holiday during the crisis and particularly during any forced closure. Other suppliers such as sports TV providers could also demonstrate their support of the pub industry by giving a payment holiday.”
Some dates for your diary.
The next couple of months Tuesday crawls, 8.30pm start:
10 March: Black Dog, Market Hill, Southam, CV47 0HF; Olde Mint, Coventry Street, Southam,, CV47 0EP; Bowling Green Inn, Coventry Street, Southam, CV47 0EP
17 March: Rugby Tavern, 43 Rugby Road, Cubbington, Leamington Spa, CV32 7HZ; Queen’s Head, 20 Queen Street, Cubbington, Leamington, CV32 7NA; King’s Head, 2 Church Hill, Cubbington, LEeamington Spa, CV32 7JY
24 March. Social: Nelson Public House, 31 Emscote Road, Warwick, CV34 5QE; Black Pug, 69 Coten End, Warwick, CV34 4NU; Oak, 27 Coten End, Warwick, CV34 4NT
31 March. Social: Joseph Arch, 7 Bridge Street, Barford, Warwick, CV35 8EH; Granville, 52 Wellesbourne Road, Barford, Warwick, CV35 8DS; Cottage Tavern, Ashorne, Warwick, CV35 9DR
7 April. Social: Fat Pug, 23 Guy’s Cliffe Road, Leamington Spa CV32 5BZ; Star & Garter, 4-6 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa, CV32 5LL Woodland Tavern, 3 Regent Street, Leamington Spa, CV32 5HW
14 April, Social: Cape of Good Hope, 66 Lower Cape, Warwick, CV34 5DP; Antelope, 93 Saltisford, Warwick, CV34 4TU; Punch Bowl, 1 The Butts, Warwick, CV34 4SS
21 April, Social: Magazine distribution: Moorings at Myton, Myton Road, Leamington Spa, CV31 3NY
28 April. Social; Shakespeare Inn, 9 Mill Street, Harbury, Leamington Spa, CV33 9HR; Gamecock, Chapel Street, Harbury, Leamington Spa, CV33 9HT; Crown Inn, Crown Street, Harbury, Leamington Spa, CV33 9HE
This Saturday, 22 February, the CAMRA West Midlands Region are holding this quarters meeting at The Tin Centre, Canal Basin, Coventry, CV1 4LY. Everyone is welcome – there are usually some lively debates too! Heart of Warwickshire members, April and David, will be behind the bar. If you would like to come along, the meeting starts at 12.00. There is also a chance to visit some Coventry pubs afterwards.