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  1. Published on: 10/09/2020 06:25 PMReported by: rogerblaxall
    It's been last orders for a pub or bar every 14 hours under the Tories - and now Labour is warning that a blanket withdrawal of furlough scheme threatens future of high streets.


    New analysis by the party reveals over 5,500 pubs and bars have closed in the UK since the Tories entered government in 2010 – one every 14 hours.

    This includes 670 closed pubs and bars in the North West - the second biggest fall in the country.

    Some of the constituencies that have seen the most pubs and bars close include:


    · 30 in Hyndburn (36%)
    · 30 in Morecambe and Lunesdale (38%)
    · 25 in Burnley (39%)
    · 25 in Rossendale and Darwen (27%)
    · 20 in West Lancashire (22%)


    Labour is now warning that the Tories risk further closures of pubs and bars, accelerating job losses and damaging high streets and night life across the country, if they press ahead with their blanket withdrawal of the furlough scheme.


    Pubs and bars have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and are still operating with severe restrictions, yet the furlough scheme is now being withdrawn from all businesses alike ahead of a hard stop at the end of October.


    The British Beer and Pub Association warned in August that over one third of pubs (37%) could not break even in their first month of reopening, whilst one in four pub and breweries said they didn’t think their business was sustainable past March 2021.


    Labour is calling for furlough support to be extended and targeted at the industries still under threat, and for business grants underspend to be redeployed as part of a Hospitality and High Street Fightback Fund.


    But the decline in pubs and bars is also a symptom of the government’s long-term neglect of the UK’s high streets and local businesses, with footfall down 10% since 2012 and around one in ten high street shops standing empty – even before coronavirus hit.


    It also reflects general economic mismanagement, with the Tories presiding over the slowest recovery from recession on record and an unprecedented 12 years of wage stagnation.


    Lucy Powell MP, Shadow Minister for Business and Consumers, said: “Pubs are a vital part of our high streets and social fabric in communities up and down the country. They have been hard hit by the pandemic and Tory indifference and incompetence over many years means that many have gone to the wall.


    “Ministers’ blanket approach to ending the furlough further threatens the future of 4500 more pubs and bars in the North West. The furlough scheme must be extended for hard hit sectors to save jobs now, and a Hospitality and High Street fund so local areas can target support at businesses still in distress.”


    Cllr John Fillis, Deputy Leader of the Lancashire Labour Group said: “We’ve seen too many pubs disappear from our high streets over across Lancashire so the ones that remain deserve support to stay open. Pubs and bars are part of our community and bring people together. Losing even more would be terrible news for jobs and business owners.


    “Extending the furlough scheme for the hospitality sector would protect jobs and give businesses the breathing space to get back on track in this difficult time.”

    *Estimates of the number of pubs and bars uses the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR). The IDBR is a comprehensive list of UK businesses used by government for statistical purposes. Pubs and bars are any local unit registered under SIC code 56.302 – ‘Public Houses and Bars.’


    Accessed via nomis, August 2020, https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/query/con...=0&dataset=141


    There were around 5,535 fewer local units of public houses and bars in the UK in 2019 than in 2010, with falls in every region and nation of the UK.
     

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