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24 Aug, 2022 17:28

UK pubs face ‘extinction’ – survey

Over 70% of British boozers say soaring energy prices will likely put them out of business this winter
UK pubs face ‘extinction’ – survey

Nearly three in four British pubs expect to go out of business this winter, according to a survey by the Morning Advertiser published on Tuesday, which cites record-high energy prices as the main cause for concern in the industry.

As energy costs are expected to continue rising, over 70% of pubs say they will be forced to close their doors for good unless the government intervenes.

More than 65% of respondents said they have seen their utility costs rise by over 100%. Another 30% of pub owners said their bills went up 200% while 8% reported seeing an increase of a staggering 500%. Nearly 80% of owners said they had no way to keep up with the costs.

The desperate operators are now calling on the government to step in and save them from having to shut down. One pub owner told the Morning Advertiser that “proper support and intervention is needed by the government,” pointing out that “even a 20% increase will be unaffordable, never mind 200%.”

Other owners have also blasted the “ridiculous” situation they are currently in, noting that it’s even worse than “Covid times.” Some are calling for the government to reduce VAT and business rates while others propose introducing a cap on energy prices for businesses.

The Morning Advertiser says the ongoing energy crisis is now being described as an “extinction event” for hospitality and that unless the government acts quickly, Britain could see thousands of pubs, restaurants, and breweries shut their doors forever.

Fisco Group managing director Heath Ball, who operates three pubs across the southeast of England, told the Morning Advertiser that the hospitality sector seemed to be underrepresented in the “corridors of power.” 

“Maybe because they think we’re a robust industry, and they are right, but this is now a doomsday scenario. To see the business secretary trying to put consumers’ minds at rest saying that help is coming is great, but perhaps his focus should be on the businesses on the brink of closure,” said Ball.

The director also noted that while many operators are facing price hikes on energy, some are having difficulties getting any sort of deals from the power companies at all. “Talking to other operators, they aren’t even being offered new energy contracts at any price due to the sector/operation being deemed ‘high risk’. So they can’t even get power even if they can afford it, what a shambles.”