Cost of living: Pub trade warns of 2,000 closures without government support for energy bills
The pub trade is warning of mass closures across the UK if the government support with energy bills is not maintained.
According to The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), 2,000 pubs and 25,000 jobs are at risk unless the industry is supported in the upcoming spring budget. BBPA cited research by Oxford Economics which forecast 288 million fewer pints would be sold in the next financial year due to the cost of living crisis.
The BBPA say due to the cost of living crisis, more people are being forced to eat and drink at home more often, putting a squeeze on pubs. According to the association, 450 pubs closed last year alone due to the cost of energy bills, despite support from the government.
The BBPA is calling on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to freeze duty rates in the spring budget. It also wants a significant increase in the discount for draft beer sold in pubs.
Energy support for businesses is set to be scaled back from March 31. Businesses will only be able to benefit from the scheme when electricity and gas bills are high - £107 per MWh for gas and £302 per MWh for electricity.
A BBPA statement said: “With cost pressures and slowing consumer spend, combined with a further duty increase in August, there are significant fears of widespread closures, with a worrying 2,000 pubs estimated to be at risk. With the current Energy Bill Relief Scheme support ending on 31st of March, many pubs and breweries will again be subject to rocketing bills that threaten them to declare last orders once and for all.”