Luton pubs still taking in less than normal – as 'freedom day' delayed
Luton residents spent more money in the pub when allowed back indoors, new figures suggest, but restrictions mean spending is still below pre-pandemic levels.
Pub industry leaders have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson demanding support for their sector following the delay to the planned lifting of all restrictions on June 21.
Banking firm Revolut analysed the data of its 4,000 customers in Luton between May 17 and June 13.
Luton punters spent 97% more in pubs over this period than they did compared to the previous month – when only outdoor hospitality was allowed.
But spending was still 45% below the level recorded in February 2020, before the pandemic struck.
Across Great Britain, spending in the month since pubs reopened their doors for indoor service was still 58% lower than in February last year.
The Prime Minister pushed back the end of England’s coronavirus restrictions to July 19 due to concerns over the rapidly spreading Delta variant first identified in India.
Pubs across the country had been expecting to welcome customers back with no limits on social contact or group sizes from today (Monday, June 21).
Groups including the British Beer and Pub Association, UK Hospitality and the Campaign for Real Ale say they are “bitterly disappointed” by the delay, which they estimate will cost pubs £400 million alone.
A joint spokesman said: “Our sector is facing one of its toughest periods in its history and this latest delay is yet another setback.
“Many pubs cannot break even under current restrictions and around 2,300 still remain closed
“It is now absolutely critical that the Government provides our sector with further support – else the recovery of our pubs will be over before they’ve even been given a chance.”
They have also called on the Prime Minister to prioritise the additional £1.5 billion business rates support package announced back in March, to ensure eligible businesses such as brewers can apply as soon as possible.
Revolut figures also show that spending in restaurants across Britain was still 51% below normal in the four weeks to June 13.
In Luton, it was 55% below the pre-pandemic baseline.