An iconic Pembrokeshire pub has been granted critical financial support, after Senedd member Joyce Watson stepped in to help.
The Swan Inn, which overlooks Little Haven beach, received coronavirus business support during the first national lockdown – but had not qualified for further assistance since last September, when the owners took over from the previous tenants.
After undertaking an extensive renovation of the 200 year-old listed building, landlord Paul Morris applied to Pembrokeshire Council for new money from the Welsh Government’s COVID-19 Economic Resilience Fund.
The claim was initially rejected because he did not receive the property back from his tenants until 10 days after the official cut-off date for the financial support scheme.
Mr Morris appealed to his local Labour MS for help, saying the pub would not survive the current restrictions without a grant.
Mrs Watson lobbied in support and, on review, Pembrokeshire County Council agreed that the business is an ongoing concern and should receive funding, safeguarding its future.
Paul Morris said:
“It is a huge relief to receive this support. We are incredibly grateful for the advice and assistance from Mrs Watson and also want to thank Pembrokeshire County Council for using their discretion on this matter in order to protect what is not only a famous Pembrokeshire pub but also a much loved Welsh landmark.”
Despite government support, the UK’s hospitality sector has been hit hard by the pandemic. Latest industry monitoring figures, released last week, show almost 6,000 licensed premises closed last year, three times as many as in 2019.*
Joyce, who was a landlady before entering politics and lives in nearby Haverfordwest, said:
“It’s an incredibly tough time for the industry and I know the Swan really well – it would have been a terrible shame to lose such an iconic and well-loved local pub.
“Local Authorities have done a fantastic job administering more than 178,000 Welsh Government business grants – more than £1.7 billion – since the start of the pandemic. Thankfully The Swan Inn will now be one of them.”