UK pubs warn of mass closures as energy crisis worsens


UK energy crisis: The British Beer and Pub Association has warned of mass closures as the bill soars.


British pubs could be forced to close due to massive energy price hikes, industry figures said on Tuesday, urging the government to intervene.

Six of the country’s biggest pub and brewery companies said some pubs had seen their bills more than triple this year, part of a wider cost of living crisis.

“We have publicans who are experiencing increases of over 300% in energy costs and some energy companies are even refusing to quote for supply,” said William Lees Jones, managing director of the pub group. JW Lees.

“In some cases, tenants give us advance notice because their businesses are not refueling at these costs.”

A Greene King Group pub tenant, which employs 2,700 people, has seen its energy bill rise by £33,000 ($38,600) this year, chief executive Nick Mackenzie has said.

“While the government has put in place measures to help households deal with this price spike, businesses are having to deal with it on their own, and it will only get worse in the fall.

“Without immediate government intervention to support the sector, we could face the prospect of pubs not being able to pay their bills, jobs being lost and beloved locals across the country being forced to leave. close their doors, which means all the good work done to keep pubs open during the pandemic could be wasted.”

Britain’s cost of living crisis has seen inflation soar to 40-year highs, with an increasing number of strikes over wage offers failing to keep pace with rising prices.

Last week, energy regulator Ofgem announced a mouth-watering 80% rise 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 businesses.

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 cap to businesses.

– Fears of hospitality –

Pubs – a mainstay of British social life for centuries – have faced a torrid few years, with declining business due to coronavirus lockdowns and social distancing restrictions.

The number of pubs in England and Wales dipped below 40,000 for the first time in the first six months of this year, down from more than 7,000 in a decade.

The British Beer and Pub Association, an industry body, said rising energy prices, caused by rising wholesale prices and a supply squeeze due to the war in Ukraine, could damage the sector more than the pandemic if nothing is done.

Independent restaurants and takeaways, including those selling another British mainstay – fish and chips – have also expressed concern.

The war in Ukraine has driven up the price of the fried treat, due to increased tariffs on the import of white fish from Russia and a reduction in the supply of vegetable oil from Ukraine.

On Monday, more than 750 outlets signed an open letter to the government warning that food prices and energy inflation, along with understaffing and supply chain delays, are now making hospitality ‘unsustainable’. “.

“If we lose these local favorites we risk losing part of what makes us British,” they added.

The UK takeaway campaign said some stores were now showing an eightfold increase in energy prices.

He called for grants for small businesses, a temporary reduction in sales tax (VAT) and business rates, and a freeze on the introduction of new regulations that lead to increased bureaucracy.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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