The APPG took evidence from the pub sector and working with CAMRA to evaluate the impact of the pandemic upon it. The APPG said:
"The COVID-19 crisis has had a devastating impact on the UK’s pubs. Lockdowns and months of restrictions have put many pubs on the brink of closure, but the pandemic has also reinforced the importance of local communities and interpersonal relationships, and the vital role that pubs play in the lives and wellbeing of their regulars.
"In response to this, the Pubs APPG held an Inquiry – seeking to understand the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on pubs and the people who run them, as well as exploring what they will need to thrive after the pandemic."
The APPG has now released their report.
While information on the financial impact of the pandemic on the pub trade has been widely publicised throughout the crisis, there has been less focus on individual licensees, or the effect had on communities. The post-pandemic landscape of the pub trade will likely undergo long-term changes, and the Pubs APPG believes that a supportive legislative framework will be key to ensuring that these changes are positive ones.
Evidence received during the Inquiry ranged from the specific concerns of individual licensees to submissions on national, legislative changes called for by campaigners. This report provides a snapshot of the challenges faced by pubs at a unique juncture in their history, and seen in the context of the decades of pub closures that proceeded the pandemic, it is clear that reform of the legislative framework in which pubs operate has never been more crucial.
Pubs are a uniquely British institution. Our culture and our communities are poorer for the loss of any one of these venues, and the evidence collected suggests that the compounded burden of disproportionate taxation, punitive legislation and the effects of the pandemic represent a tipping point for our nations pubs.
To that effect, this report looks not only at the issues caused by the pandemic, but also the opportunities to create a flourishing pub sector – with the attendant economic and social benefits this would entail.
There has never been a better time to utilise the vast potential of pubs. As drivers of both economic growth and social connection they represent an intersection of resources for post -pandemic regeneration.
However, policymakers must recognise this and respond with meaningful legislative reforms, and a holistic approach to the array of policy areas which impact the pub trade. The Pubs APPG recognises that government has made a huge investment in these businesses throughout the pandemic and at the Autumn Budget; changes to the Business Rates system, extension of short-term VAT rates, action on debt created by the pandemic, refinement of the Pubs Code, access to training and technology, and moves to boost consumer confidence will be key to ensuring a return on this investment.