Some welcome news as the government announces an expansion of its Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme. Under this initiative pubs can apply for emergency loans of up to £1 million, with the government guaranteeing 75% of the cash. Initially, tied pubs were excluded from applying, but this ban has now been lifted. Hopefully, some of the £1.3 billion available will now get to those pubs that really need it.
Although to be applauded, it’s only part of the measures that are needed to sustain the on-trade. And the government hasn’t been overly helpful, seemingly more interested in closing pubs rather than keeping them open. Hence I had to smile when Licensing Minister Gerry Sutcliffe came out with “Pubs are often the lifeblood of communities and I am keen to do what I can to help while are hard.” Sssh, don’t tell Alistair Darling.