Time at the bar: three quarters of pubs facing extinction

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

Time at the bar: three quarters of pubs facing extinction

Related tags Pub & bar Utility Energy costs Government

More than 70% of operators do not expect to make it through the winter without Government intervention, according to a new survey.

The survey, conducted by BigHospitality​’s sister title The Morning Advertiser,​ found that more than 65% of respondents said they’d seen their utility costs increase by over 100%. Meanwhile, 30% reported a jump of 200% and 8% reported increases of more than 500%.

Nearly 80% of operators said they could not afford the increase in energy costs.

Desperate operators are calling for a range of measures to help them survive the crisis, from reductions in VAT and business rates through to a cap on energy prices for business.

Responding to the survey, one operator said: “Proper support and intervention is needed by [the] Government. Even a 20% increase will be unaffordable, never mind 200%.”

Another added: “Action needs to be taken now to protect businesses. It was hard enough making it through covid times, this is now absolutely ridiculous.”

“We need lower prices,” said another desperate operator. “We were in a fixed contract at 14p a unit, just been quoted 83p a unit. I’m a small wet-led pub, I have no chance of surviving.”

“The Government needs to support small businesses to retain employment like they did during the pandemic. Without support now all those grants and furlough payments are wasted.”

One other simply said: “Help.”

Heath Ball, managing director of The Frisco Group which operates three pubs across the south east of England, says: “This energy bill crisis not only comes on the back of the most testing of times as businesses try and recover from the Covid crisis, but I think it poses an even greater threat to the survival of pubs. Brits face the prospect of losing thousands of pubs if something isn’t done soon to help.”

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