Struggling Ipswich pubs could get £25k each to survive pandemic
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Ipswich pubs struggling during the pandemic could receive a £25,000 windfall to help them survive the coronavirus crisis.
Other hospitality businesses, such as restaurants, could also get money if Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) funding from Ipswich Borough Council is approved.
Venues have warned the crisis and ongoing restrictions are leaving them severely damaged, with Dove Street Inn landlord Ady Smith saying pubs are living with "total uncertainty" and fears their pubs could go the wall before Easter without further help.
Now Ipswich Borough Council, which has already distributed millions of pounds of grants using funding from the government to help those whose trade has been hit, will debate a report at a meeting next week to consider handing out more cash.
If agreed, it could mean all 60-plus pubs within the Ipswich council area receiving £5,000 a month between November 2020 and March 2021 - subject to state aid rules being met.
Income reductions would also have to be greater than the grant received in order to qualify.
A similar scheme would be available for other hospitality and leisure businesses, although a £300,000 cap on the overall total the council can give out would mean these businesses may not get as much as £5,000 a month.
Another scheme to support independent town centre retailers could also be brought in, again with a £300,000 total limit.
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Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere said: “We know that our pubs and our hospitality sector are being hugely impacted by the restrictions brought about by Covid-19.
"Our new scheme is intended to directly support them and provide them with certainty around the level of support they will receive over the next couple of months.
"We’re also looking forward to working with small retailers in the town centre to design a scheme which will give them the support they need.”
Mr Smith, who also runs the Gladstone Arms, said: "Obviously, anything at the moment is going to be of help.
"If they're going to do a grant of that sort of figure, that would get us through to the end of March.
"We're not looking to make anything. We're just looking to survive, so when this is over we're able to go back to normal.
"The hospitality industry has been decimated and blamed, whereas we've actually invested heavily in being Covid-secure.
"We've spent £30,000 between the two pubs making them Covid compliant. We were doing the responsible thing.
"I hope the councillors do come up with some form of support. 23 years of hard graft has gone down the pan."