The independent licensee support organisation for individuals working in hospitality has written to the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt calling for vital investment in pubs at the Budget on 6 March.
The BII said a survey conducted in the past few days across its 13,000 UK members, the majority independently operating single pubs, has highlighted the challenges they are facing:
- 2023 revenues were flat or down for 62% of pubs
- Exceptional costs of energy, staffing, food & drinks supply biggest impact to profit
- Three in four pubs operated unprofitably in 2023
BII CEO Steve Alton said: “Our members’ pubs continue to face a cost-of-business crisis, driven by exceptional cost increases in energy, staffing, food and drink supply.
“These short-term pressures are undermining long-term, viable businesses in every community, stifling investment and growth, with many now at risk of failure.
“Pubs are essential businesses at the heart of every community, providing accessible spaces for all. They are vital in supporting local suppliers including brewers, providing essential skilled jobs and have the capacity to generate real growth in the economy.”
Alton continued: “Pubs are highly valued by their communities and have evolved their offering to ensure they can both survive and thrive moving forward.
“The lack of profitability, driven by both short-term exceptional pressures and longer-term unfair taxation, undermines this future.
“The Chancellor has recognised the vital role of pubs in our communities and we now ask him to invest in pubs to secure their viable future for generations to come.
“This investment can be delivered via fair taxation through a reduction in VAT for all pub sales, which will deliver a meaningful investment that will have immediate impact, allowing pubs to plan, invest and deliver future growth, benefiting the economy and communities across the UK.”