A YORK landlord who is leading a national fight to save pubs hit by the coronavirus crisis is demanding immediate Government action.

Paul Crossman is chairing the new national the Campaign for Pubs which has today published its '10 Points to Save Pubs', pressing for top level support to prevent closures.

The campaign wants an immediate announcement confirming July 4 as the reopening day, along with clear guidance to be published next week, and social distancing to be set at one, and not two metres.

Paul, licensee of The Swan, The Slip Inn and Volunteer Arms in York, is joined on the campaign committee by Malton brewer Phil Saltonstall, founder of Brass Castle Brewery.

The campaign is working to give a stronger voice for the industry at grassroots level, and is pushing for a better, freer and fairer, more sustainable pub sector.

It has been established by prominent licensees, pub campaigners, small brewers and pub lovers including academics, musicians and actors.

The 10 Points to Save Pubs is also calling for a mandatory Covid-19 rent code to support tenants, rather than the voluntary code produced by the Government.

All pub tenants should have a statutory right to a rent review as they will be facing restrictions on their ability to trade, says campaigners.

They also want five per cent VAT for 12 months, to help pubs and the hospitality and tourism sectors get back on their feet.

And they are pressing the Government to announce a business rates reform to commence by April 2021, and for business rate relief for pubs until a new system comes in.

Campaign chairman Paul Crossman said: “We need Government and others to really acknowledge and address very real threat currently facing thousands of much-loved community pubs up and down the country.

"We need urgent action to support and save pubs that have already incurred huge losses due to the COVID-19 crisis and that are still facing the dire prospect of hugely reduced trade going forward.

"We urge the Government to listen and act and back the Campaign for Pubs 10 Points to Save Pubs.

"We also urge all who value pubs to join the Campaign for Pubs and to help us get the message to Whitehall that we need real action now in order to save the UK’s hugely important and beloved community locals."

York Press:

Pubs are facing the very real threat that property owners and large pub companies will look to close and redevelop many pubs.

This is prompting calls for a 12-month moratorium on all change of use for pubs to protect and preserve valued community locals.

The Campaign welcomes the financial support given to many pubs.

However, it says some pub-owners have asked publicans to hand over Government COVID-19 support grants in full or partial rent, despite pubs being closed and with zero revenue.

In addition, many larger pubs were excluded from receiving any grant at all.

The campaign backs the #RaisetheBar campaign which advocates grants for pubs of all sizes, and also the #NoPubNoRent campaign which highlights the rent demands for closed pubs.

Campaign director Greg Mulholland said: “The Campaign for Pubs is hearing from many licensee members how worried they are with an uncertain future and ongoing restrictions.

"Already publicans are being forced out of pubs through rent demands, and soon unscrupulous developers and pubcos will inevitably be looking to develop and convert pubs.

"This must be stopped via a 12-month ban on any change of use.

"We now need concerted action from the Government and from the pub sector to save pubs and preserve a hugely important part of our country’s history and heritage. The Campaign for Pubs 10 Points to Save Pubs is the way to do this”.

The full list of the 10 Points to Save Pubs is:

1. A definite date for opening NOW! (by Friday 19th June)

2. Social distancing of 1 metre - not 2 metres (or most pubs simply cannot open)

3. Clear full guidance for pubs and insurance companies to be issued by Friday 26 June – pubs need real clarity about any physical infrastructure requirements, and also about specific responsibilities and liability issues, so that they can be properly insured under fair policies which will be honoured

4. Relaxation of licensing restrictions where extra spaces would help smaller pubs operate more viably and safely

5. A strong mandatory Covid-19 rent code of conduct including a statutory right to a rent review for all pub tenants

6. A rent-free period for all pubs, and an extended period of protection from landlords if rent cannot be paid

7. Continued financial support for staff – extended fully-paid furlough where pubs are unable to viably/safely trade due to continued Government restrictions

8. VAT to 5% for at least 12 months - the only sensible way to help with reduced margins, as any price increases would reduce trade even further

9. Business rates reform - announced now and implemented in April 2021 – and rates relief for all pubs until a reformed system comes in

10. A 12 month ban on all change of use for pubs – pubs need protection in the planning system now even more than ever

The Campaign for Pubs is urging pub lovers to back the #10PointstoSavePubs – and to call on their MPs and the Government to back them too.

The Campaign is a mass membership group, uniting publicans, pub campaigners, customers and suppliers.

Members is £25 a year to join, or £40 for a couple.