Pubs facing immediate survival threat

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Help needed: BII boss Steve Alton warns there will be 'huge business failure' if the Government doesn't intervene (image: Getty/Drazen_)
Help needed: BII boss Steve Alton warns there will be 'huge business failure' if the Government doesn't intervene (image: Getty/Drazen_)

Related tags British institute of innkeeping Legislation Finance Government

Government support is critical to safeguard the future of pubs and without it, the sector will see "huge business failure", according to one trade body, which has written to the Chancellor, demanding help.

The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) highlighted stark figures, illustrating the financial pressures its members are battling in a letter to Jeremy Hunt, following the Chancellor's statement​ yesterday (Monday 17 October).

The letter stated one in three BII members had no cash reserves, three quarters (75%) had job vacancies and 70% had pandemic specific debts of about £40,000.

While it welcomed the energy price guarantee, it warned many will see a hike in energy costs by at least 200% to 300% over last year.

Months of turmoil

Furthermore, the trade body urged the Government to reduce VAT for all food and drink sales in hospitality as well as a business rates holiday for the rest of this year and the next financial year.

BII chief executive Steve Alton said: “While we recognise [the] Government is seeking to restore stability and confidence after months of turmoil, our members are facing immediate threats to their survival.

“They need meaningful support to allow them to plan their recovery and be part of the growth the Chancellor has stated is at the centre of [the] Government’s plans.

“We have consistently made the case the ministers and officials in Government our fragile sector can be at the heart of recovery through growth but with the pandemic-specific debts, waning consumer confidence and escalating cost of doing business, as well as the energy crisis, they will need targeted and immediate support to reach their full potential.”

Huge business failure

Alton went on to warn that the sector will face losing many of its pubs should the Government not step in.

He added: “Without it, we will see huge business failure, meaning lost income to [the] Treasury in tax and existing debt repayments as well as lost employment and supply chain revenue on a local and national level.

“Most importantly, we stand to lose the social hubs of our communities across the UK at a time when people need to come together more than ever.

“Supporting pubs and wider hospitality is an investment in our villages, towns and high streets and is one that will [be] repaid in economic growth, employment and vital social connection but this support, in the form of a reduced rate of VAT and cancellation of business rates for 2023/24 is now of the utmost urgency.”

He went on to call for “everyone who loves the pub” to participate in the BII’s #notjustapub campaign​ and write to their MPs, asking for support for the sector.

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