Thousands of jobs will be lost across the pub and brewing industry if action isn’t taken to address rising energy prices for businesses, leaders from across the sector have warned.
In a letter to the prime minister, chancellor and business secretary, chief executives from organisations including Greene King, St Austell Brewery and Carlsberg Marstons say that many pubs could be forced to close because of price rises that are causing “irreversible damage” to the sector.
They claim that some businesses are seeing 300% increases on their pre-pandemic energy bills, with the average increase across the sector at around 150% currently.
Without “swift and substantial” intervention from the government, the letter says many closures and job losses would occur and the support the government put in place to keep the sector afloat during the pandemic would be wasted.
The letter from the British Beer and Pub Association suggests that levies should be paused and an energy price cap for small businesses should be introduced.
Rising business costs
Chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “This rise in energy costs will cause more damage to our industry than the pandemic did if nothing is done in the next few weeks, consumers will now be thinking even more carefully about where they spend their money. There are pubs that weathered the storm of the past two years that now face closure because of rocketing energy bills for both them and their customers.
“If we lose them, we not only lose businesses and the jobs that go with them, but also the beating heart of communities across the country where people gather in times of need. We need an energy cap for businesses before it’s too late.”
Greene King chief executive Nick McKenzie said one of its tenants had reported energy prices rising by £33,000 a year.
He said: “While the government has introduced measures to help households cope with this spike in prices, businesses are having to face this alone, and it is only going to get worse come the autumn. Without immediate government intervention to support the sector, we could face the prospect of pubs being unable to pay their bills, jobs being lost and beloved locals across the country forced to close their doors, meaning all the good work done to keep pubs open during the pandemic could be wasted.”