Only 24% of pubs in the UK have a high level of faith they will still be in business at the end of the summer, compared with 44% for all types of company. The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are however a big improvement on previous surveys.
Last October, the ONS found just 6% of pubs were highly confident of survival, by February that was just 1%. As non-essential businesses, pubs and bars have faced prolonged closures since the pandemic began in March 2020 and have had to lay off or furlough tens of thousands of workers.
Despite reopening to outdoor drinkers on 12 April, and indoors from 17 May, the ONS said many establishments still reported ‘significant profit losses’ last month.
The ONS report, titled ‘The Economies of Ale’, also revealed that furlough rates are still significantly higher than average in the pub sector. At the peak, in the November 2020 lockdown, 91% of all pub and bar staff were on furlough. That stood at 55% in early May 2021, compared with around 8% of the UK’s wider workforce. Furlough support is set to be reduced from next month with further cuts until it stops at the end of September.