Pub and brewery chiefs want taxpayers to pay for 7.5 million pints of beer that will be poured down the drain because of the second lockdown.
Hospitality leaders are demanding Rishi Sunak offers a fresh round of handouts to the sector amid fears any hopes of a recovery will be skewered by four weeks of restrictions.
In a letter to the chancellor they warn: “The sector could not be going into a lockdown in a worse state. “Without an immediate six-month support plan, many of our viable hospitality businesses will irrecoverably fail with significant losses of jobs, livelihoods and a material long term impact to the UK economy.”
From Thursday, pubs and restaurants in England will be forced to close as Boris Johnson imposes tough restrictions to combat steepling coronavirus infection rates. The lockdown was confirmed on Saturday evening, leaving operators with less than a week to offload significant levels of stock.
Around 70m pints were wasted during the first lockdown, according to the British Beer and Pubs Association (BBPA). But while spoilt volumes will be only a tenth of that during the November shutdown, small businesses will still be hit hard.
Bosses want “a compensation scheme for brewers for unsold beer and returned stock” as part of a six-month Government “investment package”.
Other demands include a commitment to guarantee 80pc of wages beyond the four-week lockdown period, at least £12,000-a-month to cover fixed costs and extension of moratorium that prevents property owners from launching legal action over non-payment of rent.
VAT should be reduced for the whole of 2021 and a business rates holiday extended until March 2022, urged bosses from UKHospitality, the BBPA, Campaign for Real Ale, British Institute of Innkeeping, Society of Independent Brewers and Pub is the Hub.
“It is crucial that the Government provides long-term financial support that goes well beyond what has already been announced,” the letter reads.