A pub in Staffordshire has slammed the government who has forced it to close during the pandemic because of a ludicrous” gap in support payments
Berkeley Inns, which runs five food pubs in Staffordshire and Derbyshire – including the Meynell Ingram Arms, in Hoar Cross – estimates it hands over more than £1,935,000 to the Treasury per year – a monthly contribution to the public purse of more than £160,000.
But now the Government has forced all Berkeley Inns’ pubs to close during the pandemic, it is paying the firm just £14,000 a month in compensation – an amount that “doesn’t come close” to covering fixed costs, reports StaffordshireLive
A Berkeley Inns spokesman said: “Throughout the last few months, the Government’s ever-increasing victimisation of the hospitality industry will mean the collapse of many otherwise-viable businesses.
“We have now reached the incredible position where while nearly every other industry can operate freely; only hospitality cannot.
“Gyms, hairdressers, sport, beauty and retail are free to trade, which is fine, but not pubs. We have invested several million pounds in developing disused and derelict properties, created many jobs, provided pubs at the centre of their community and produced a substantial contribution to public monies.
“In June and July, we spent over £100,000 to make our pubs covid secure, including on garden rooms, social distancing initiatives, sanitising systems and PPE.
“And are now we being destroyed without proper justification. We are just a small business in an enormous UK industry; many of our peers have already collapsed. Many more will follow. This Government has to change tack.”
A spokesman for the Treasury said: “We’ve supported pubs from the start of the outbreak, protecting jobs through VAT cuts, business rates holidays and a first wave of cash grants of up to £25,000.
“We recognise too they have been among the businesses which have suffered the most during the pandemic, which is why we recently provided further support with a £1,000 grant to help them weather the economic storm.”
Berkeley’s pubs served more than 75,000 meals between the two lockdowns, as well as collecting revenues from room sales and bar visitors.
Although they are “grateful” for furlough payments for their 250 staff, they are still having to pay employers’ national insurance, pensions and holiday pay, the firm says.
Having, to their knowledge, not had any covid transmissions at their pubs, they claim the decision to close pubs has “no logical justification”.
The company is not currently serving takeaway meals, which it is allowed to do under Tier 3 rules.
The Government’s support package, which it says is among the most generous in the world, provides grants for businesses forced to close of up to £3,000 a month.
It also offers grants of up to £2,100 per month to businesses which are not closed, but are severely affected by restrictions.
As well as the Meynell, Berkeley Inns runs The Horseshoes, in Long Lane; The Cow, in Dalbury Lees; and The Cock Inn, in Muggington.
A project to renovate and reopen The Bluebell, in Kirk Langley, is set to be completed in time to open in Spring 2021.
Berkley Inns’ estimated contributions to HM Treasury and local government
These figures do not include corporation tax or taxes gained from capital expenditure and are estimated on last year’s numbers and revenues between lockdowns this year.
1) VAT Payments at 20 per cent: £924,952
2) HMRC Employers’ NI: £203,662
3) PAYE and ENI: £423,097
4) Business Rates: £166,817
5) Excise Duty paid by suppliers on our alcoholic drinks supply: £219,285
Annual Contribution: £1,937,814
Monthly Contribution: £161,484