British pubs could be forced to close due to massive increases in energy prices, leading industry figures said on Tuesday, urging the government to intervene.
Six of the country’s largest pub and brewing companies said some pubs had seen bills rise more than threefold this year, as part of a wider cost of living crisis.
“We have pub owners dealing with more than 300 percent higher energy costs and some utility companies are refusing to even quote the supply,” said William Lees Jones, general manager of pub group JW Lees.
“In some cases, tenants notify us because their business doesn’t have enough energy for this cost.”
A pub tenant in the 2,700-strong Greene King group has seen a £33,000 ($38,600) increase in his utility bill this year, CEO Nick Mackenzie said.
“While the government has taken steps to help households cope with this price hike, businesses are on their own and things will only get worse in the fall.
“Without immediate government intervention to support the sector, we could face the prospect of pubs failing to pay their bills, jobs being lost and beloved locals across the country being forced to close, meaning all the good work being done has been done to keep pubs open during the pandemic can be wasted.”
The cost of living crisis in Britain has pushed inflation to its highest point in 40 years, with an increasing number of strikes on wage offers failing to keep pace with rising prices.
Last week, energy regulator Ofgem announced a dazzling 80 percent increase in gas and electricity prices for the average household from October, with even higher bills expected from January.
But the energy price cap does not apply to companies.
The companies – Greene King, JW Lees, Carlsberg Marston’s, Admiral Taverns, Drake & Morgan and St Austell Brewery – urged the government in an open letter to extend the limit to companies.
– Hospitality Anxiety –
Pubs – a mainstay of British social life for centuries – have had a torrid few years, with business slumping due to coronavirus lockdowns and social distancing restrictions.
The number of pubs in England and Wales fell below 40,000 for the first time in the first six months of this year, more than 7,000 in a decade.
The British Beer and Pub Association, a trade association, said energy price increases, driven by increases in wholesale costs and pressure on supplies from the war in Ukraine, could do more damage to the sector than the pandemic if nothing is done. done.
Independent restaurants and takeaways, including restaurants selling another UK mainstay – fish and chips – have also expressed concerns.
The war in Ukraine has pushed up the price of the fried delicacy, due to increased tariffs on imports of white fish from Russia and a reduction in supplies of vegetable oil from Ukraine.
On Monday, more than 750 outlets signed an open letter to the government warning that food price and energy inflation, as well as staff shortages and supply chain delays, were now making hospitality “unsustainable”.
“If we lose these local favorites, we risk losing some of what makes us British,” she added.
According to the British Takeaway Campaign, some stores are now reported to see an eightfold increase in energy prices.
It called for subsidies for small businesses, a temporary cut in sales tax (VAT) and business rates, plus a freeze on the introduction of new regulations that would add bureaucracy.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)