Pubs in 'fragile state' as 1 in 3 left with no cash reserves

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

One in three pubs have no cash reserves left: BII member survey reveals 55% of respondents have debts of more than £40,000 (Credit: Getty/katleho Seisa)
One in three pubs have no cash reserves left: BII member survey reveals 55% of respondents have debts of more than £40,000 (Credit: Getty/katleho Seisa)

Related tags Bii Finance Coronavirus

Pubs have been left in a ‘fragile state’ with no cash reserves, forcing some to consider ceasing trade as one in 10 licensees believe their business is currently unviable, according to the latest British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) member survey.

The latest survey revealed more than one in three respondents currently have no cash reserves in their business, and of those that do, one in two only had up to two months left before the coffers are empty.

BII CEO Steven Alton said: “Essential interim support will need to be delivered at the upcoming budget, to enable our members to meaningfully start their recovery, while they tackle the strategic challenges of resourcing, inflation and rebuilding long term sustainable levels of trade.”

Pubs in fragile state 

Coronavirus restrictions over the past two years have left businesses in a fragile state, having restricted their ability to weather further challenges, such as inflation, staff shortages and supply chain issues as 75% saw overall revenues more than 20% down in 2021.

Despite the current rate of inflation in the UK being 5.4%, 93% of pubs have seen levels significantly above the national rate and more than two in three are facing inflationary business costs of more than 10%.

Additionally, pubs face ongoing repayments for pandemic specific debt, as 55% of respondents still had debts of more than £40,000 left to pay.

The survey also showed respondents felt business rates suspension was key to supporting their recovery, as one in four needed at least a six-month suspension while a further one in two required a full year of business rates suspension in order to rebuild their businesses.

A draught duty cut directly benefitting pubs was also desired in order to support licensees as 90% of respondents believed the draught duty discount should be at least 10%, while two in three needed it to be over 20% to have any real impact on their businesses.

Safeguarding pubs

One of the top priorities for BII members was a continued VAT rate reduction, including an extension of the discount to alcoholic drinks served in wet-led pubs.

Alton added: “The BII is calling on the Government, as the Chancellor reviews the Budget ahead of the new financial year, to safeguard these small, essential businesses, supporting local suppliers and brewers, at the heart of their communities.

“This support will both safeguard pubs in every community across the UK and enable their role as an essential component of rebuilding communities and high streets, levelling up across the UK.”

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