Over 5,500 pubs and bars have closed in the UK since the Tories entered government from 2010 until 2019 – one pub or bar every 14 hours.
The number of pubs and bars has fallen in every region and nation of the UK. In Yorkshire and the Humber, a staggering 420 pubs and bars have closed. Sheffield alone has lost more than one pub or bar each year, with fifteen establishments having closed their doors since 2010.
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.
The Bank of England has said that it expects the unemployment rate to double to 7.5% by the end of the year when the government-funded support schemes come to an end.
Several large hospitality businesses – including Frankie & Benny’s, Costa Coffee, Pret A Manger, Burger King, and Pizza Express – have already announced major redundancies across the country that will push thousands out of work.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, pubs were closing at an alarming rate and they’ve been especially badly hit by lockdown.
As well as jobs, pubs provide much-needed community spaces and their loss is keenly felt.
If the government presses ahead with its blanket withdrawal of furlough we can expect more pubs to close at a time when unemployment is already on the rise. Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak need to extend the furlough scheme for hard hit businesses, like pubs, instead of standing by as they shut their doors for good.