Thousands write to MPs for pub support

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Industry in need: Thousands write to MPs for help (Getty/ Dougal Watters)
Industry in need: Thousands write to MPs for help (Getty/ Dougal Watters)

Related tags Finance Camra Legislation

Thousands of the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) members have written to their MPs seeking support for the pub sector, after reported delays in Government help reaching businesses.

CAMRA warned the price of a pint could rise from £15 to £20 at the bar if Government support on energy bills was further delayed. 

This comes after a Government official announced businesses could have to wait until November for help as part of a £150bn energy support package. 

The organisation warned many pubs and breweries were facing new energy contracts and up to 500% increases in their bills. This meant operators were forced to up food and drink prices, which could put customers off coming, according to the organisation. 

CAMRA chairman Nik Antona said: “The announcement of a six-month energy price cap for businesses is much needed, but we are already hearing there may be a delay getting that in place.  

Pub closures 

“In the first half of this year the number of long-term pub closures has doubled. If the Chancellor doesn’t use this week’s emergency fiscal event to provide certainty about when and how pubs, social clubs, breweries and cider producers will get help, we risk seeing more of our locals being forced to close before that help reaches them.” 

As well as energy help to be extended from six months to two years, Antona called on the Chancellor to deliver an added support package for pubs. 

He wanted this to include cutting VAT on food and drink in pubs, help with business rates and the introduction of the new lower rate of duty for draught beer and cider, so pubs could compete with supermarket alcohol. 

Met with criticism 

This comes after trade bodies critiqued reports the support package could be delayed. Night Time Industries Association chief executive Michael Kill said: “Annual energy costs under-pricing available now are simply untenable for small and medium sized businesses, in fact it was unaffordable six months ago. 

“It is long past time for Government to act quickly, if we are to have any chance of saving jobs and protecting the future of the economy. 

“Any further delay in the release of detailed support for businesses is unacceptable. Businesses are making irreversible decisions today, that are impacting thousands of people’s lives.” 

“We have now reached such a crisis point that only immediate and large-scale interventions can save huge parts of the sector, with substantial cuts to VAT, an extension of business rates relief and a meaningful energy price freeze for SME’s which is affordable.” 

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