Aylesbury's Millwrights Pub landlady describes the real struggles faced by her industry, and what help is REALLY needed during the covid-19 crisis
Liz Hind is landlady of Aylesbury’s The Millwrights pub, she also stood as Labour’s candidate for the Aylesbury consituency at the 2019 general election.
In this special column for The Bucks Herald Liz reflects on the impact that the hospitality industry is enduring during the coronavirus crisis, and what businesses really need to ensure that they survive.
These are strange and worrying times for business owners and their employees alike.
Many businesses have had to close their doors and are anxiously waiting to see if they will be able to afford to open them again.
To survive this period we must work constructively to protect everyone - staff and their bosses.
Pubs like mine are among the hardest hit as we’ve been forced to close for everyone’s benefit, but losses are not covered by insurance.
Pubs have been struggling for years, this crisis could see many more closing for good.
The Government announced emergency measures, when they realised the full extent of the crisis, designed to get money to people as quickly as possible.
Inevitably, we are seeing gaps and problems.
The Government is making employers like me responsible for ensuring the wellbeing of our staff, through furlough.
However, employers like me need targeted support to keep going and keep giving support to our staff, the emergency funding we will get won’t last forever.
The 20% top-up to staff wages is a massive cost when you have nothing coming in.
Grants and other funds were emergency measures provided before the Government understood what the full cost to a business is.
It’s slowly getting though, Buckinghamshire Council sent out letters this week but we will need more targeted, long-term planning to help business and employees.
Why is the furlough scheme so important for hospitality workers?
Because the alternative for them is Universal Credit which takes too long to apply for, and makes you wait for money which isn’t enough to live on.
We’ve made claiming benefits difficult, thinking that it will encourage people to find employment.
We’re now seeing just how unfair that system is and how little it provides for people who need it
When we finally emerge from this crisis, we must ensure that it is to a society that is kinder and more supportive.
I’ll raise a glass to that.
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