Boris Johnson’s Wet Pub Grant is a little beer in the House of Commons debate


Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs today ‘wet’ pubs will receive a one-time payment of £ 1,000 in recognition of their closure under restrictions on coronavirus levels 2 and 3. For clarity, a pub “Wet” serves drinks, but does not serve large meal. This will be less than a night’s profit for the vast majority of London pubs.

Johnson announced the measure during a debate on the new restrictions in the House of Commons, which are due to take effect tomorrow, Wednesday, December 2. He said the grant for qualifying boozers was an attempt to “recognize how badly they had been hit”, and also said the hospitality industry had borne a “disproportionate share” of the burden when it came to to impose public health restrictions on England.

Labor leader Keir Starmer called the plan a “little beer”.


The ads themselves aren’t happy either. British Beer & Pub Association (BPA) chief executive Emma McClarkin told Propel that was “nowhere near enough”, not just for pubs, but for the supply chains that depend on them. Last week the BPA wrote to the government with its own program of grants, which have reportedly ranged from £ 3,000 to £ 12,000 per month, depending on the assessed value of each business. The government will say it is in addition to d ‘other subsidies. – up to £ 3,000 for closed businesses and up to £ 2,100 for those with “significantly reduced footfall” – and also his attempts to keep pubs open by “functioning as restaurants” and not serving no Scottish eggs.

What really lies behind the subsidy mismatch is the need to provide piecemeal solutions to reactive policy-making failures, which are more symbolic than economics. It is gullible that the government did not know that pubs that could not serve food were “hit hard” when it announced conditions for levels two and three in November. They have been “hard hit” since March. And as paltry as the number announced today may be, there would have been a little more understanding if the shutdown and the subsidy had been announced together.

But throughout the crisis, the Conservative government attempted to avoid proactive policies that would prove unpopular because they were radical and / or draconian, even though they would have been significantly more effective than half-measures and amendments. reagents that aim to provide an illusion of permissiveness and freedom, but economically let companies watch the barrel.

Unilaterally shutting down pubs with proportionate financial support would undoubtedly be more epidemiologically effective than closing some pubs based on their food supply and giving those without food a check for £ 1,000 that does not hit the sides, but Johnson and his government tried to avoid this proactivity from the start. The link between small grants, “substantial meals” and coronavirus levels is the political tension between public opinion barometer Johnson and the larger Rishi Sunak of public spending, which has manifested itself in policies that allow to pubs to be open, while severely restricting their trade. through curfews, household mixing bans and other necessary public health measures. All of this would be done by ordering them to shut down, but then the government would have to pay them money.

Pubs are not allowed to open if they serve heavy meals because the government loves to debate the Scottish Egg ontology; they are allowed to open up to limit government spending on business subsidies strength shutting down COVID-19 for Sunak and allowing Johnson to say “look, you can go to the pub!” The exception to this parsimonious push-pull was the Eat Out to Help Out program, which likely contributed to both an increase in coronavirus cases and to the cost, according to HMRC data from November, of around 849 million. of pounds sterling. He also reportedly reported to the Treasury around £ 250million in savings and taxes in September.

Also, the Prime Minister’s refrain for National Lockdown 1.0, Level 1.0 System, National Lockdown 2.0 and Level 2.0 System has always been the same: a paraphrase of the feeling that no Prime Minister wants to make these decisions. ; no prime minister wants to impose these restrictions. This is why each new plan is billed as “not another foreclosure”. Until, of course, there is another lockdown.

And in the gap between political abstractions – ‘substantial meals’ is one – and the concrete conversion of these into readable politics, are thousands of real-life ads, including revenue, employment and the future are all impacted by abstraction and half-baked politics long before the government turns them into law or adds to these financial measures. This is even truer for brewers, whose vulnerability stems directly from their attachment to the supply chain.

With the proactive and unpopular strategy off the table, what replaces it is reactive risk management, which applies band-aid dressing to gaping wounds in the hospitality industry. Advertising bodies said their industry was losing £ 100million per week as of June. And until vaccines are rolled out on a large scale, this cycle of announcing restrictions and then announcing inadequate financial responses to those restrictions will likely continue. Pint, anyone?


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