Everards responds to covid-19 and asks for extra government support for pubs
Everards of Leicestershire, which owns more than 175 pubs in the East Midlands, has called for extra government support for the hospitality sector in the light of covid-19.
Stephen Gould, managing director, said: “Government support so far is much valued and appreciated. Through the fine work of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and UK Hospitality, the government realised early that the hospitality industry would be severely impacted and responded well.”
However, he continued: “I would expect the same logic to follow in terms of a new, refreshed package of government support for the hospitality sector, as inevitably it will be one of the last sectors to fully come out of lockdown measures.
“In particular, the government needs to act now to support those business owners operating pubs with a Rateable Value above £51,000 who are not receiving grants. This is time-critical. Working with the industry, the government needs to find a solution to this challenge without delay. Otherwise many businesses in this Rateable Value category will fail due to not having enough liquidity.
Everards’ managing director also hopes the government to extend its hospitality support package beyond lockdown. He said: “The extension of the coronavirus job retention scheme to the end of June has been very welcome. We hope to see further plans laid out to support sector jobs for the length of the pub closures but also once they are open again as increased social-distancing measures would continue to impact business owner’s income.”
Stephen concluded: “The plan to come out of lockdown needs really careful thought. A rushed approach makes no sense for anyone and we support the BBPA’s call for a minimum of three, ideally four, weeks’ notice. If pubs are to be one of the last sectors to come out of lockdown then a new, refreshed package of government financial support for the pub industry needs to be created and communicated by the end of May. In turn, this will give companies, business owners and their communities confidence and belief in a bright future for pubs”.
Everards’ own covid-19 response
Everards itself has responded to the Covid-19 challenge in three major ways.
It has cancelled (not deferred) the rent payments of its business owners (Everards’ chosen term for its tenants) for both April and May. This will be reviewed again at the end of May.
Everards has also cut directors’ salaries by an average of 30% and cancelled the full-year dividend payment to shareholders while furloughing 70% of employees on full pay (to be reviewed at the end of May).
Furthermore, the Everards Family Foundation has donated £50,000 to Age UK Leicestershire & Rutland.
Stephen Gould concluded: “We have three prime objectives in dealing with this issue. First, to protect and support the health, safety and welfare of employees, Everards’ business owners [tenants], their staff and communities. Second, to retain Everards’ talented business owners and attracting the finest business owners to join us. Third, to ensure that coming out of this pandemic, we as a business remain strong, fit, innovative and well prepared to compete.”