The BII has today written to the Chancellor, calling for further support for its members ahead of the Spring Statement in March.
Results from a recent joint survey of BII, UKH, BBPA and Hospitality Ulster members, revealed the ongoing fragility of pub businesses, with half of BII respondents at risk of failure in the next 12 months, 43% not making a profit and 1 in 3 having no cash reserves.
The pressure from soaring inflation and ever rising costs across their businesses over the past year has seen pubs forced to make major changes to their trading, further damaging their vital recovery, with 60% reducing opening times and 1 in 3 reducing opening days to mitigate the significant rise in energy particularly.
Steve Alton, BII CEO commented:
“Our nations pubs have been devastated by the huge inflationary rises across all areas of their businesses and in particular energy costs ,which now represents the biggest single threat to their survival. 50% of respondents to the joint survey have had to renew their energy contracts in the last 6 months of 2022, at a time of when prices were unfairly high in a non-competitive market.
“It is vital that our pubs are recognised as the essential businesses that they are, at the heart of their communities, providing not just tangible social value, but also skilled and flexible local employment. We offer employment opportunities that are open to all with the ability to deliver essential business skills, to build skilled jobs and careers, in our sector and beyond. They need and deserve support and investment, and without it we will see widespread business failure on a huge scale.
“We are calling on the Chancellor to provide that support with a sector specific reduction in VAT and a long term business rate reform through a reduction in the rates multiplier for our sector, recognising our unique social value in every community. We are also asking for Government to deliver fair and reasonable energy costs for pubs and an ability to re-contract poor and unfair energy deals secured in 2022.
“These measures, alongside an enhanced draught duty reduction for beer served in pubs with full delivery of the Alcohol Duty Reform including a freeze in beer duty, would ensure our members and the wider hospitality sector can deliver the growth, employment and social value needed in towns and cities across the UK.”