Are we victims of our own tenacity?

By Ed Bedington contact

- Last updated on GMT

Is the pub sector too resilient?

Related tags: Government, Legislation, Finance, Vat cut, Vat

The pub sector has always been something of a survivor, adapting and rolling with the punches thrown at it, but are we now finding ourselves the victims of our own tenacity?

I found myself sitting next to a government advisor the other day who uttered words along the lines of, “yes, but the pub sector always manages to bounce back, it always regenerates”.

The comment worried me, as there seems to be a view within the corridors of power that our sector can take whatever is thrown at it - and yes, some people might fall over, but others will step forward to take their place.

And the reality of the matter is that, yes, in the past our sector has managed to take the hit, roll with those punches and to stretch the metaphor a little more, climb back up the ropes to its weary feet.

But are we running out of road?

As I pointed out to the advisor, yes we’ve always been good at adapting and evolving, but we can’t bounce back if there’s nothing left to bounce to. There’s only so much the sector can take before it becomes unviable.

With soaring inflation coming on top of legacy debts from the pandemic, pubs and bars are starting to feel the pinch. With consumers looking to cut back spending in the face of the rocketing costs of living, pubs now find themselves in the unenviable position of rising costs, growing debt and reduced income as consumers cut back on discretionary spend.

If the view from within the Government is that our sector is resilient and others will simply fill the gaps, if there’s no business worth having, no-one is going to step forward.

We need to see real initiatives and support from the top, tax reform is one way, with levers the Government can pull on VAT and business rates - Manchester’s Night Time Economy Advisor Sacha Lord is calling for a reduction on VAT to 5% for business energy bills, and that would be a good start.

We are a tenacious sector, and we do adapt, but without that government support and understanding there will be nothing left to adapt.

Related topics: Legislation

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