‘Take action now’ plea to new PM

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

New Prime Minister: action is needed urgently over a wide range of topics including energy and business rates (credit: UK Parliament 2022)
New Prime Minister: action is needed urgently over a wide range of topics including energy and business rates (credit: UK Parliament 2022)

Related tags Legislation Licensing Beer Social responsibility Finance

Trade bodies have urged new Prime Minister Liz Truss to act immediately to save the sector.

UKHospitality (UKH), the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) all congratulated Truss who saw off the challenge from former chancellor Rishi Sunak to win the Conservative leadership race but have called for quick action to help hospitality.

UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We very much look forward to working closely with [Liz Truss] and the new cabinet in the coming weeks, as we strive to save the hospitality industry, which is experiencing crushing cost rises.

“The new Government must act quickly and decisively to address the soaring energy bills that are facing consumers and businesses. With the right package of support – including a reduction in the headline rate of VAT for the sector to 12.5%, a business rates holiday, the deferral of all environmental levies, the reinstatement of a HMRC Time to Pay scheme and the reintroduction of a trade credit insurance scheme for energy – the sector will be well placed to aid growth through generating jobs and local investment.

“Pre-pandemic, our industry spent £10bn a year in high street regeneration and employed 3.2m people but with energy bills for hospitality businesses rising 300% on average – and as high as 750% in some cases – we desperately need a package of support put in place if we are to be able to play our part in the UK’s economic recovery and growth.”

Hit the ground running

Meanwhile BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin added: “It is crucial the new Government hits the ground running and put plans in place to urgently tackle the rocketing energy prices which are putting pubs and brewers in real jeopardy.

“The pub and brewing sector makes a huge contribution to our economy and local communities throughout the UK, yet is in an extremely precarious position.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say what we are facing in terms of rising costs could have a worse impact than the pandemic in terms of business closures and subsequent job losses.”

McClarkin also said the BBPA has also written to Truss calling for for urgent investment in our sector to allow it to weather the storm and play a key role in the PM’s plan for growth.”

CAMRA insisted Truss implement an energy price cap to prevent the potential threat of a pint costing £20 or the prospects of many pub closures.

Energy price cap

CAMRA chairman Nik Antona said: “We look forward to working constructively with the new Government to protect and promote the nation’s pubs, social clubs, breweries and cider producers.

“CAMRA is urging the Prime Minister to take urgent action to introduce an energy price cap to help the UK’s world-famous pubs and breweries with the astronomical energy bills, which threaten to destroy livelihoods and close scores of pubs for good. 

“If pubs increased prices for consumers at the same rate as their energy bills, we would be paying £15 or £20 per pint at the bar – which obviously isn’t viable. Without help reaching them quickly many businesses that survived the pandemic will be forced to close their doors for good with devastating consequences for communities up and down the country.”

NTIA chief executive Michael Kill said: “It would be hard to disguise the frustration and anxiety experienced across the industry, as we have had to patiently watch the leadership campaigns play out over the past four weeks.

“It is now vital the new Prime Minister takes this opportunity to be decisive in tackling the cost inflation crisis, over the coming days, by reducing VAT across the board, extending business rates relief and implementing an energy cap for small medium enterprise businesses.

“Over the coming weeks, without an effective intervention from the Government, we will see thousands of businesses go to the wall and millions of jobs lost.”

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