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Pub sector CEOs pull out of government reopening talks over ‘lack of interest and respect'

15 February 2021 by
Pub sector CEOs pull out of government reopening talks over ‘lack of interest and respect'

Pub sector chief executives are pulling out of government talks with business minister Paul Scully over what Young's boss Patrick Dardis described as an "obvious lack of interest and respect".

In a letter to the prime minister, Dardis said it was "abundantly clear that they are just playing politics under the guise of consulting" and the government had not engaged with the sector "in any meaningful way".

He said that the sector was "shocked and appalled" that the government was basing its decisions to keep pubs closed on "unfounded and unproven statistics"; and described the government's "refusal to acknowledge" that its approach has led to people meeting in their own homes rather than controlled hospitality environments "wilfully and dangerously ignorant".

Dardis added that, given the progress of the vaccination programme, there was "no reason why pubs cannot open in April [when there] is absolutely no evidence" to suggest pubs are a significant factor in spreading the virus.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) published its roadmap to recovery last week, stating that pubs must reopen alongside non-essential retail and other parts of hospitality.

It said that restrictions such as the 10pm curfew must be removed to allow the sector to return to profitability, and that on reopening the government should continue to provide financial support, including an extension to VAT and business rates relief and a significant beer duty cut.

Wetherspoon chair Tim Martin has also called for pubs to reopen at the same time as non-essential retail to aid the country's economic recovery.

Photo: Shutterstock

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