From the 71 respondents to the poll, almost a third (32%) voted in favour of energy prices being the focus for the next leader.
This was followed by business rates, which was the top choice for 8% of participants and beer duty was the preference of 3%.
However, almost four in 10 (39%) wanted the next PM’s priority to be all of the above while the remainder (1%) wanted something else to be at the top of the list.
The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) recently wrote to the two Conservative party candidates, urging them to meet with business leaders to help save pubs and other hospitality venues from closure.
Calls on Government
The open letter to Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss outlined how a roundtable of business leaders should be arranged ‘at the earliest opportunity’ as the sector battles rising energy bills, staffing shortages and the cost-of-living crisis.
This follows a number of trade bodies, including the BBPA, demanding urgent action from the Government on soaring energy costs.
The group of organisations stated many hospitality venues are reducing operating hours as a result of “rocketing energy prices”, which “have become a matter of existential emergency for businesses in our sector”.
One London-based operator previously told The Morning Advertiser energy prices have left the sector on a “knife edge”.
Licensee of the Spread Eagle in Homerton, Hackney, east London, Luke McLoughlin highlighted his energy bills had increased by almost double (from 16p per kilowatt an hour to 30p) with this to rise even further by September.
He said: “We're getting to the point where it's going to be more expensive to put the lights on or turn the ovens on than paying rent, and we're in central London so our rent's not inconsiderable.
“In the next 12 months, you're going to see a number of businesses decide to shut their doors because when you're paying £50,000 or £60,000 a year electricity, it's not worth it.
“When you make such slim margins as pubs do, and restaurants, spending thousands of pounds on electricity is scary, and it gets to the point where it's not operating.
“Electricity prices going from £700 per month a year ago to £3,000, which is probably what they are going to be in September, is absolutely petrifying.”