Thank you for contacting me about supporting our pubs.
Pubs have been hard hit by national lockdown measures, and many people have expressed serious concerns for what lies ahead for pubs. I share those concerns.
It was good to see how well many pubs adapted to the local restrictions, but it was disappointing to see that good work put on hold again by this latest lockdown. I voted against the latest lockdown measures, which I did not see as a proportionate response for the South West in particular.
I realise you would like to see the business rates holiday for hospitality extended by a further year alongside further job support and grants for pubs and breweries. Along with other South West MPs, I have campaigned for further support for our critical hospitality industry, including on business rates. I have ensured that the Chancellor is aware of the level of concern here in the constituency about the future of some of our best-loved local pubs and of calls to help further.
The unprecedented nature of the crisis has meant that many sectors across the country have required additional support. I am glad that action was swiftly taken to support the most vulnerable, protect livelihoods and keep thousands of businesses running. I am also pleased that evidence continues to be collected on the impact of the pandemic on the hospitality sector and work is underway with businesses and representative groups to inform efforts to support this sector further.
I recognise that the hospitality sector and pubs specifically are calling for more support. I campaigned for VAT reductions for the hospitality, and was very pleased that VAT was reduced to 5 per cent and has been extended by a further three months to the end of March 2021, and the Chancellor will also defer VAT repayments through a new scheme until March 2022. The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund provided cash grants up to £25,000 for eligible properties. The emergency legislation protects commercial tenants against aggressive forms of rent recovery and puts a temporary moratorium on commercial rent forfeitures until the end of 2020.
The targeted support measures announced in September provide further assistance through the Job Support Scheme to retain positions, especially in those sectors facing lower demand. For areas facing business closures dues to restrictions, Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme provides a cash grant up to £3,000 per month. Businesses are also being given more time to access crucial loans alongside a more flexible repayment scheme for existing ones.
I can assure you that I will continue to campaign for the safe reopening of our local pubs, which are so important to our local economy and to our communities.
Thank you for taking the time to contact me.