Pubs warn of closures by Christmas and bosses plead for help as energy bills jump by as much as £33,000

29 August 2022, 23:07 | Updated: 30 August 2022, 06:31

Up to three quarters of pubs in the UK could be forced to close this winter because of rising energy prices, industry bosses have warned.
Up to three quarters of pubs in the UK could be forced to close this winter because of rising energy prices, industry bosses have warned. . Picture: Alamy

By Lauren Lewis

Pubs and brewers across the UK are at risk of closure "within months" amid price hikes upwards of 300%, industry bosses have warned.

One firm warned their annual bills have jumped by £33,000, another restaurant chain in Manchester said prices have gone up by nearly £10,000 a month and others say they are struggling to even find suppliers willing to power their venues when contracts come up for renewal.

Industry bosses have warned up to three quarters of pubs in the UK could be forced to close this winter because of rising energy prices.

Greene King, JW Lees, Carlsberg Marston's, Admiral Taverns, Drake & Morgan and St Austell Brewery all sounded the alarm about looming closures today.

William Lees Jones, managing director of the JW Lees pub group, said: "We have publicans who are experiencing 300% plus increases in energy costs and some energy companies are refusing to even quote for supply.

"In some instances, tenants are giving us notice since their businesses do not stack up with energy at these costs.

"These are not just pubs but people's homes and the hearts of the communities that they sit in.

"Government needs to extend the energy cap to business as well as households."

Nick Mackenzie, chief executive officer of 2700-strong group Greene King, said one tenant has seen their energy bill jump £33,000 for the year.

He said: "While the Government has introduced measures to help households cope with this spike in prices, businesses are having to face this alone, and it is only going to get worse come the autumn.

"Without immediate government intervention to support the sector, we could face the prospect of pubs being unable to pay their bills, jobs being lost and beloved locals across the country forced to close their doors, meaning all the good work done to keep pubs open during the pandemic could be wasted."

It comes after a recent poll by Morning Advertiser found nearly three quarters of landlords had seen utility bill increases of more than 100% in recent months.

The British Beer and Pub Association, UK Hospitality, Night-Time Industries Association, Music Venue Trust and The British Institute of Innkeeping have called on the Government to take urgent action.

The group said soaring prices were "becoming a matter of existential emergency" with jobs in the hospitality sector "at grave risk" as they warned utility bills have skyrocketed by as much as 300 per cent.

One business owner, the co-founder of Tampopo and East Street restaurants, told the Manchester Evening news he estimates the monthly energy bill at just one of his sites, even before winter, will be around £9,200 a month.

David Fox said the situation was a 'f*****g shambles' and would "call into question the affordability" of running any restaurant.

Leadership candidate Liz Truss was today accused by Labour of "flip-flopping" on support for families facing skyrocketing energy bills and causing them "unnecessary worry".

Similar accusations have been levelled at her rival Rishi Sunak.

Pubs and restaurant owners have warned they face being forced to shutter before Christmas if the new prime minister fails to take action over the crisis.
Pubs and restaurant owners have warned they face being forced to shutter before Christmas if the new prime minister fails to take action over the crisis. . Picture: Alamy

Read more: Truss 'plans to hike income tax thresholds' as part of rescue package amid spiralling cost of living crisis

A poll by the Liberal Democrats today revealed a quarter of adults will not turn their heating on this winter because of eye-watering energy bills with families forced to make "heart-breaking decisions".

The Government has been accused of being missing in action amid resounding warnings that people are facing a dire winter with rocketing energy bills.

Ministers insist new support will be announced by the new Prime Minister, once either Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss are announced as the winner of the Tory leadership race next week.

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has insisted he has been working tirelessly to come up with proposals for either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak for more support.

The Chancellor said: "We have a strong and resilient UK economy and are easing the burden facing families at home with an unprecedented £37 billion support package, while working flat out to develop further options for a new prime minister.

"But these global pressures must be overcome through global efforts. I'm determined - here in the US - to work closely with my allies on the common challenges we face to create a fairer and more resilient economy at home and abroad."

Read more: Man arrested after 'trying to pull woman onto tracks' at King's Cross Underground Station

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has insisted he has been working tirelessly to come up with proposals for either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak for more support.
Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has insisted he has been working tirelessly to come up with proposals for either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak for more support. Picture: Alamy

Mr Zahawi is travelling to the United States this week to seek joint solutions to the cost-of-living crisis with top bankers and US government officials.

He will push for co-operation on energy security, financial services, and tackling spiralling prices and slower growth, the Treasury said.

Ms Truss has argued it is not "right" to announce her full plan before the contest is over or she has seen all the analysis being prepared in Whitehall.

Over the weekend, the Foreign Secretary's team said she is leaning towards targeted support over help for all, but maintained she is not "ruling anything out", while it was also reported she is considering slashing VAT by 5% across the board.

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