‘Don’t have a dry January’ Call to protect pubs as ’20 a week’ going bust BEFORE pandemic

Dave Mountford says pub crisis can't just be blamed on covid

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Dave Mountford said that the Hospitality industry was no longer thriving before COVID-19 struck, with up to “twenty pubs a week” closing their doors, as he called on punters to avoid having a dry January to help boost struggling businesses. Mr Mountford, who is the manager of Forum of British Pubs Campaign, told GB News presenters Anna Diamond and Stephen Dixon that the “unsustainable rents” led to debt-ridden pubs going bust long before many took massive financial hits due to Covid.

He said: “The industry has been suffering for years, long before Covid came in.

“Unfortunately, at the start of the pandemic there were still 20 pubs a week that were shutting in this country.

“And that is nothing to do with the usage of pubs, that is to do with the unsustainable rents that pubs have been charged.

“That’s an issue that’s been identified by governments on many occasions but unfortunately they have done nothing about it.

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“The industry was already in a crisis before the Covid crisis hit!”

Owner’s woes were compounded by the impact of Coronavirus, with income believed to have plummeted to 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

Taking out a bank loan to get some respite and keep their heads above water was an inevitable move for a number of pubs, restaurants and nightclubs owners, Mr Mountford revealed.

He said: “Obviously I don’t need to reiterate that the impact of Covid has been huge on hospitality.

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“A lot of pubs took out a considerable amount of debts or were encouraged to take out debts in terms of banks back loans.

“And those that managed to survive, came out of the pandemic looking forward to bouncing back at Christmas, which is the first opportunity to get some real income coming into their pubs.

“But, of course, we know what then happened.

“And the impacts of the announcement from the governments to be careful and to not be too reckless over Christmas has impacted the pubs again!”

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The more fortunate ones who weathered the stormed had to make to make do with a drastically trimmed wage bill

He said: “To put that in perspective, two years in December my pub took about £55,000 for the month.

“Last December we just took over £27,000, so our income was pretty much halved!

“And that’s representative of most pubs out there.

“The reasons why we will survive as a business hopefully is the fact that we are privately-owned and we have an accurate and fairly assessed rent. 

“But that is not the case for the majority of pubs in this country who are owned by banks and hedge funds. And that is why the industry is in the crisis it is in.”

Pubs in general have been hugely impacted by the pandemic which led to mass closures, temporarary or permanent loss of staff, restricted service, and many are now facing a rent increase.

And it’s also believed that people consume less alcohol when they go out.

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