Vote now: how can Gov best support your pub?

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Rising costs: swift action from Government "essential" to sector's survival (Credit:Getty/sturti)
Rising costs: swift action from Government "essential" to sector's survival (Credit:Getty/sturti)

Related tags Government Legislation Finance

Trade body UKHospitality (UKH) has called for “swift action” from the Government to “curb” cost increases.

Figures from the Office For National Statistics (ONS) released earlier this week showed draught beer prices​ soared by 11.9% in the year to March 2023, more than double the previous record-high yearly increase.


Which would be most beneficial to your pub?

  • Business rates reformation

  • VAT reduction

  • Extension to energy support

  • Cuts to alcohol duty

  • All of the above

  • Other


The data showed the cost of a pint of a draught lager rose by 48p, from £4.02 in March 2022 to £4.50 in March 2023, while draught bitter prices had increased by 29p (8.4%) year-on-year, from £3.44 to £3.73.

In addition, food inflation hit a 45-year high​ in the 12-months to March 2023, despite a decrease to the headline inflation rate, from 10.4% in February to 10.1%.

Enormous pressure

UKH​ chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “These new figures show the enormous cost pressures pubs are under, which have left businesses with no choice but to pass on these costs to the consumer.

“These are not decisions taken lightly by anyone but when energy costs have more than doubled and food and drink price inflation remain above 20%, there is only so much that can be absorbed by a business.

“Swift action is needed to curb the cost increases pubs are facing. It’s essential to the survival of businesses across the country that energy suppliers are forced to renegotiate the highest energy contracts and that the Government supports efforts to alleviate ongoing staff shortages​ across hospitality.”

This comes as recent data from real estate intelligence firm Altus Group showed more than 150 pubs​ had already been lost for good so far this year, attributed to energy costs.

Trade bodies​ across the sector have repeatedly called for Government backing to ensure the sector’s survival, in particular with regards to business rates​ reformation, cuts to VAT and energy​ support extension.

Damage to pubs

Recent figures from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) estimated a pub with an average weekly turnover of £9,000 would be expected to pay almost £20,000 more annually for their energy bills following the end to the Energy Bill Relief Discount Scheme earlier this month.

This would equate to an 11% increase in turnover for pubs to just break-even. However, data from Lumina​ this month showed consumers visits to on-trade settings are in decline as the public continues to grapple with the cost-of-living crisis.

BBPA​ chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “The alarm has been raised for months and, in the next few weeks, we will see just how severe the damage to pubs and brewers and thousands of other valued high street businesses is due to this energy crisis.”

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