The VICE Guide to Right Now

The Government Wants You to Buy Your Local Pub, But Won't Loan You Nearly Enough

The Pub Loan Fund, announced this morning by Pubs Minister Marcus Jones, might be a nice idea – but it'll barely cover your next round.

by Bo Franklin
11 September 2015, 10:46am

You probably won't be pouring one of these any time soon. (Photo by Tim Dobson, via)

Read: Meeting the Locals of the Elephant and Castle Pub That's Being Turned Into a Foxtons

Like a fever dream in which Jez from Peep Show becomes the Prime Minister, today the government launched its Pub Loan Fund – £1.5m meant to help communities buy their local and "take control of pubs at risk of closure".

At a time when 29 pubs are closing every week, and JD Wetherspoon – the seemingly unstoppable titan of sticky-floored boozers – are announcing a slump in profits, this seems like great news for anyone who's dreamed of jacking in that data analyst role and pulling pints behind their own bar.

In reality, however, the £1.5m fund, created to cover "feasibility work, pay for lawyers' fees or get materials for refurbishment", is a tiny drop in an ocean of booze. The British Beer and Pub Association estimates operating costs for a local pub to be around £125,000 a year, excluding food and drink. It looks like the government alone won't fund your dreams of becoming a publican.

Community Pubs Minister Marcus Jones claimed "we're giving our communities the chance to be at the heart of their local with the support they need to put their plans for running a pub into action".

It's not hard to see how Jones got the booziest job in government, as his record in parliament makes him sound like every pub bore you've ever met. He voted repeatedly against equal marriage, and is keen on scrapping the Human Rights Act, so his Clarkson chat must be absolutely second to none.

On its website, the Campaign for Real Ale lists just 49 community-owned pubs currently open in the UK. To put that into context, 'Spoons alone owns 920 pubs. The day when we all own a stake in our local is probably a long way off.

JD Wetherspoon
marcus jones