Last orders called on takeaway pints as Home Office ends pub pandemic scheme

Last orders called on takeaway pints as Home Office ends pub pandemic scheme

7 Aug    Finance News, News

Bad news for pub goers who enjoy a cold pint on the go as the government has decided to put an end to the Covid-19 scheme which allowed pubs to sell takeaway pints.

Pubs were allowed to sell alcoholic drinks in plastic cups to customers on the street in 2020, when businesses could not trade normally during the pandemic.

However, the Home Office has now said it will wind up the scheme on 30 September.

Businesses will have to apply for permission from their local council in order to provide the service going forward.

This comes after new figures this morning showing how much pubs have been struggling amid soaring inflation and interest rate rises.

Pubs closing at fastest pace in a decade as high interest rates and energy bills crush Britain’s boozers

In excess of 6oo of pubs across the country disappeared over the year to the end of March, a 68 per cent increase from the 369 failures in the same period last year, according to chartered accountants Price Bailey.

While pub trade has largely returned to normal post pandemic, hospitality figures have said they are “disappointed” that the measures will come to a close.

“There’s no doubt that this is disappointing news for hospitality businesses. The temporary measures introduced during the pandemic were practical and enabled businesses to generate additional sales,” Kate Nicholls, head of UKHospitailty, said.

“This decision will raise questions among hospitality businesses about how serious the government is about reducing red-tape for businesses, particularly when this would have been a low-cost, high-reward change.”

She added: “I would continue to urge the government to consider measures like these as prime targets for change, as part of its focus on deregulation.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association also said that the temporary change in legislation allowed pubs to offer takeaway options and host a “greater range of events for their communities in recent years”.

“The decision not to extend will mean businesses across the country will now have to go through potentially lengthy application and approval processes.”
“We need the government to support our pubs and allow them to diversify and innovate, not hold them back with more red tape and unnecessary regulation.”

It comes amid a challenging time for Britain’s pub trade with many businesses battling increases in energy bills and supply costs.

The sector has also just welcomed new Alcohol Duty rises which came into effect on 1 August.

Hunt announced the measures as part of the budget back in March, which saw an end to the blanket alcohol duty freeze which was put in place via the Autumn Budget 2020 during the pandemic and extended in December.

However under the new measures alcohol will be taxed by strength and the duty paid on pints in pubs will be up to 11p cheaper than at the shop.

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