I met virtually this evening with Patrick Dardis, the Chief Executive of Young's, to discuss shared concerns around the impact of Tier 2 restrictions on the pub and breweries industry.
I was grateful as well that the General Managers of our three local Young's pubs - Don Turner of the Plough; Colum and Anne-Marie McCarthy of the Greyhound; and Connal Donovan of the Duke's Head - were able to join the call, as well as Andy Hoffman who is the Operations Manager for the three sites.
As a member of the APPG Beers, I had already heard earlier this week from industry representatives and leading experts from across the breweries and pubs trades sectors, and it was good to hear further from some of the publicans in our area. I absolutely share their concerns about the impact that the heightened Tier 2 restrictions will have, not just on the pubs and breweries themselves but also on the livelihoods of all those who work in the industry, and all those - including many older and vulnerable residents - who rely on their local pub for a friendly face and a bit of conversation each week.
The confirmation announcement from Downing Street, whilst we were on the Zoom call, that people in Tier 2 cannot continue to drink and will have to leave the pub as soon as they have finished eating is extremely disappointing, and I will be raising the matter with Ministers. I had already written to the Prime Minister earlier today on behalf of G-A-Y and the wider night time economy, to put across specific recommendations from that sector for steps to be taken that will allow them not only to continue to operate, but to literally survive the coming months.
I am hoping to speak to Stonegate Pubs, which operate a number of pubs in Carshalton and Wallington, next week, as well as to speak separately with Emma McClarkin, the Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, to continue to hear directly from the sector what specific help they need, what measures they need introducing, and how I can do everything I can to help them.
It is unfair that the hospitality industry has borne the brunt of the fallout from the new restrictions, despite businesses spent millions on becoming COVID-secure, and we are in real danger of what happens when we come out the other side of this pandemic, and how many pubs, breweries, clubs, bars, and so on have managed to survive.
I am always going to be a champion of the Great British Pub, and I will continue to do everything I can to support them.