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6 Mar, 2023 06:27

Thousands of UK pubs could go bust – industry body

Closures threaten 25,000 jobs in the hospitality sector, according to the BBPA
Thousands of UK pubs could go bust – industry body

Britain’s hospitality sector could lose thousands of jobs amid soaring energy costs, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has warned, as it called on the government to extend a lifeline for the industry.

According to a BBPA report on Wednesday, citing data from Oxford Economics, a further 2,000 pubs are at risk of closure, threatening 25,000 jobs. The research suggested that on-trade beer sales will decline by 9% in 2023-2024, which equates to 1 million fewer barrels of beer sold, or 288 million pints.

“The BBPA is calling on the government to use the Spring Budget to show it understands just how much pubs and breweries mean to their communities, and the pressures the sector is facing, and deliver a plan for sustainable growth with fair, modernized tax rates and a focus on skills and training needed to ensure pubs and breweries can thrive,” the association stated.

It also called on the chancellor to freeze duty rates, implement a significant increase in the discount for draft beer sold in pubs, and introduce the previously announced reduced rate for lower-strength beers from August 1.

In September 2022, the British government introduced the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which has reportedly provided £18 billion ($22 billion) to businesses to help with soaring energy costs. However, the plan is due to come to an end in March, and a new support package will reportedly see funding reduced to £5.5 billion ($6.5 billion).

“After almost three years of extremely tough trading conditions due to lockdowns, an energy crisis, supply chain disruptions and more, now is a make-or-break moment to save our locals and breweries from failure now in the years to come, we need the government to act now or risk losing something very special forever,” said the BBPA’s chief executive, Emma McClarkin.

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