Plunkett understands the importance of having a pub open and offering multiple services in communities across the UK. These valuable assets offer a place that brings people together, contributes to local trade, helps address problems of isolation, loneliness and offers much needed job opportunities and training.
The Covid pandemic has put thousands of pubs across the UK at risk of closure. This tragic situation will lead to job losses and the closure of a vital community facility in many areas across the UK. Plunkett stands ready to help in these communities, where a community buyout could be a solution to saving the local pub.
There are now 150 pubs in community ownership across the UK and this number is growing, however in order to make this sector succeed change is needed. We are asking the UK Government, Devolved Administrations and Local Councils to make legislative chances and provisions to support these enterprises that are so much #MoreThanAPub.
To benefit community-owned pub projects in development, we would like to see:
- A consistent Community Right to Buy across the UK that protects local assets and offers communities a right of first refusal on assets that are put up for sale
- Flexibility in the Community Ownership Fund on the match-funding requirement, to make the Fund accessible to all communities, regardless of their relative affluence
- Local Councils to provide greater support to community businesses through the Public Works Loan and them being given the power to on-lend this money directly to community businesses
- Ensure that community businesses can access Government finance through banks, without unnecessary delays due to their legal structure
- Support for the wellbeing of staff and volunteers working in the pub sector, e.g. access to advice and mental health services
In the longer term:
- A standard business rate relief for community businesses and social enterprises, similar to what is afforded to charities, so acknowledge their social contribution.
- Social Investment Tax Relief to be retained and reformed beyond April 2023