James Evans, Conservative Senedd Candidate met with the Countryside Alliance to support the campaign they have launched here in Wales #UnlockInnWales to save our Pubs. Their campaign follows revelations in a recent survey of pub landlords that found a staggering 6 in 10 believing they will go out of business if lockdown restrictions are not sufficiently lifted until the summer. The campaign urges the Welsh Government to provide these struggling businesses with increased financial support to ensure their future survival. Pubs, especially pubs in rural areas, were closing at a worrying rate before Covid. The additional pressures of the last 12 months could prove devastating. And when allowed to open, they cannot rely on outdoor trade alone or limited numbers inside due to social distancing restrictions.
James Evans Conservative Senedd Candidate is calling on the Welsh Labour Government to set out clear guidance and timelines for pubs and cafes to re-open.
Cllr James Evans says “Our pubs and clubs, whether in villages or towns, are often the beating heart of our communities. After a disastrous trading year, they need hope and a date for re-opening from the Welsh Government. The UK Government maintaining VAT at 5% for the next six months is a great help, together with the Welsh Government freeze on business rates for the next twelve months.
What businesses need now is certainty on what dates they can re-open and in what format. And once open, stay open. They desperately need the Welsh Labour Government to offer clear timescales and direction and to pass on the financial support they have received from the UK Government. It seems inconsistent that self catering accommodation can open for Easter, attract in visitors from other parts of Wales yet the pub trade cannot benefit from this as they remain locked down”.
Pubs are an integral part of our community acting as focal points in rural villages, as well as in our larger towns. In many parts of Brecon & Radnorshire, especially as other services have increasingly retreated from rural communities, pubs can be one of the few places that provide social interaction for those living relatively isolated lives. One of the positives of the Covid pandemic has been the way so many of these key rural businesses have adapted to serve local communities with take away food, or as shops and community hubs.
Our Pubs and the wider hospitality trade provides large number of jobs and also have a wide network of other businesses that rely on them being open, from butchers to breweries. But it is the social benefits of a good local pub that stand out. The Countryside Alliance campaign calls for the public to lobby their local Member of the Senedd, with a letter asking the Welsh Government to allow pubs to start trading again.