Armstrong pledges support for pub campaign

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has pledged her support to a campaign trying to prevent pubs going out of existence during the pandemic.

The party’s Communities spokesperson said CAMRA NI’s Save Our Pubs campaign, which is calling for a long-term financial support package from the Executive to support pubs, breweries and local producers, as well as compensation for breweries for unsold beer and returned stock.

“The majority of publicans have co-operated with the coronavirus restrictions, meaning they have run at a loss for months. While they have been necessary, closures risk devastating our local pubs, brewers and producers, putting the jobs of their employees at risk,” said Ms Armstrong.

“If our pubs become extinct, we will lose a key part of our social fabric, with people missing out on the mental health and well-being aspect of socialising with their friends and family. While the UK Government’s extension of furlough will help, the Executive’s current financial support just isn’t enough to make sure pubs survive this crisis.

“Local producers can’t sell to pubs and restaurants, and because of our outdated licensing laws, they cannot sell directly to the public to make ends meet. These breweries and cider-makers deserve financial support too.

“That’s why I’m happy to support CAMRA NI’s Save Our Pubs campaign. We need to see the Departments of Finance and Economy come up with a long-term and well-funded plan to keep pubs and other licenced premises afloat or else the sad fact is many will not survive this pandemic.”