One in two Sheffield pubs face permanent closure next year without more government help

Half of Sheffield's pubs could close permanently by the middle of 2021 without more government support, it is feared.

Friday, 11th December 2020, 12:30 pm

City boozers face being closed over Christmas, worth up to 30 per cent of annual turnover, after months of lockdowns and restrictions.

Now, the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) says 50 per cent are facing ruin - and all the money spent propping them up could be wasted.

It warns the UK risks losing a growing sector with an important social benefit.

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Christmas lights in Sheffield city centre.

And it is calling for more help over the next three to six months to keep businesses going until the vaccine programme has been rolled out.

Molly Davis, head of communications at the BII, said: “Large numbers are just hanging on, but one in two say they will go without more help.

“Towns will look very different without them. Before, the pandemic, the High Street was in decline but pubs weren’t, the sector was growing at five per cent and was in the best place for a long time.

“They are part of the community. It’s about being able to connect with people - to lose them would be a tragedy.”

The furlough scheme has kept staff in jobs but it is due to end in March, she added.

Meanwhile, local support grants are worth one third of those in lockdown one. VAT has only been deferred and energy bills and National Insurance and pension contributions for staff must still be paid.

There was no spike in cases due to the Eat Out To Help Out scheme in the summer and staff infection rates was an ‘indiscernible’ one per cent.

She added: “Restrictions are unfair and unfounded, especially compared to shopping.”

If Sheffield stays in Tier 3, pubs will remain closed and miss out on several big festive paydays.

Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, will decide whether Sheffield can move down on December 16.

In Tier 2 pubs can open but with no household mixing and drinkers must have a ‘substantial meal’.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a one-off £1,000 "Christmas grant" to support pubs in Tier 2 and 3 that predominantly serve alcohol rather than food.

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