UK Pubs Warned Of Mass Closures If Gov’t Does Not Solve Energy Crisis

LONDON – The pub and brewing industries in the United Kingdom demanded on Tuesday that the government outline an urgent support package to prevent eye-watering increases in energy costs from causing irreversible damage to the industry.

The energy regulator announced last week that the price cap for millions of British households would increase by 80% to an average of 3,549 pounds (RM18643.50) per year beginning in October, but with no cap for businesses, some have reported seeing increases of more than 300% on their energy bills.

Members of the British Beer and Pub Association’s board of directors wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking for a moratorium on levies, the implementation of an energy price cap for small businesses, and additional grant support for pubs.

Rising Energy Costs

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, the frontrunner to succeed Johnson in a leadership election scheduled for September 5, has said she favours tax cuts to help households and businesses cope with rising energy costs.

“As more fixed price contracts come up for renewal this is only worsening. The time to act is now,” the leaders of J.W Lees Brewery, Greene King, Admiral Taverns, St Austell Brewery, Drake and Morgan and Carlsberg Marstons said in the letter.

“Without swift and substantial intervention from government there is no doubt we will witness a huge number of pubs close their doors for good, leaving individuals without jobs during a cost-of-living crisis and communities without its social heartbeat.”

The group said the rise in energy bills was hitting the industry just as it was starting to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Having survived the unprecedented challenges arising from the pandemic, pubs and breweries are once again faced with an existential threat because of circumstances beyond their control,” Kevin Georgel, Chief Executive of St Austell Brewery said.

“The cost of energy threatens to cause mass business failure.” – Reuters

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