Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:
“The chancellor has communicated clearly that pubs and hospitality are safe and open for business.
“The positive measures announced today are a welcome first step on what we believe will be a long road to full recovery for our sector.
“These initiatives, which we have been calling for, will be beneficial for pubs that serve food and offer accommodation, and will also help compensate for an expected long period of reduced sales and revenue for pubs.
“The ‘eat out to help out’ scheme, taking place in August, will also help stimulate visits to thousands of pubs that serve great food. It will help show to consumers that our pubs are back open for business.
“Of course, for those pubs that do serve significant amounts of food or offer rooms to stay in, the cut to VAT for these to 5% will be a welcome boost. Whilst the measures announced today will help food led pubs, those who just serve beer may feel they are left wanting.
“The Job Retention Bonus will help our sector to bring back as many of its furloughed staff as possible – with 90% of pub staff furloughed, it should help protect many jobs.
“Our pubs directly employ 600,000 people – 43% of which are under 25, making them a vital source of employment for young people in communities across the UK. We therefore welcome the ‘kickstart job scheme’ announced today for young people on Universal Credit.
“The pub and brewing sector has huge potential to create thousands of new jobs and employ more people, but to do this it needs to be thriving, not just surviving. This will require more support in the medium term directed at all pubs and brewers so they can help lead with the economic recovery. These measures include a significant cut to beer duty to bring the UK in line with other European countries who pay far less tax on beer, and a fundamental review of the business rates system so that pubs no longer pay an unfair share of them.
“Such measures will ensure our pubs thrive and continue to bring together people from all walks of life as they have done for centuries. We look forward to these measures being announced in the Government’s planned rebuild phase.”