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Here you can find licensed trade news and updates, the weekly e-newsletter INNfocus, past editions of the BII News (our quarterly magazine), and hear all about our latest industry campaigns.

More closures imminent without further intervention on energy bills, hospitality trade bodies warn

Industry trade bodies, Hospitality Ulster, BBPA, UKHospitality and the BII, have today jointly written to the Secretary of State for BEIS, the Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, calling for further support for vulnerable pubs, brewers and hospitality operators, facing devastating energy costs which are crippling their businesses.


With over 1600 hospitality businesses already having failed in the last three months (CGA and AlixPartners research), the organisations issued a stark warning about the thousands more potential business failures in the sector without further support.


In addition, results from a recent joint survey of BII, UKH, BBPA and Hospitality Ulster members, revealed the ongoing fragility of pub businesses, with one in three at risk of failure in the next 12 months, 16% of members having no cash reserves and a further 23% with fewer than three months reserves left. This issue is simply crippling the entirety of hospitality, from pubs at the heart of their communities through to city centre restaurant chains.


With the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) closing at the end of March, operators will be left with little to no support from its replacement, the Energy Bill Discount Scheme (EBDS) leaving them facing bills of at least three and a half times that of the equivalent period in 2022.


The letter follows a call from the BBPA in January for an urgent inquiry looking at poor conduct by energy suppliers to be held, as well as UKHospitality’s Chief Executive Kate Nicholls giving evidence to the BEIS Select Committee earlier this week on the impact of the energy crisis on the sector.


In a joint statement, the organisations they commented:


“Hospitality businesses have faced countless challenges over the last three years, being the first to close and the last to open in the pandemic, battling against soaring inflation in every area of their business, and more recently, huge disruption caused by industrial action. 


“Government has previously intervened to support our sector, recognising the tangible social value we provide, but if they fail to act at this crucial time, these essential businesses providing so much in our communities, villages, towns and cities will be lost forever.
“Spiralling energy costs and having to commit to long-term contracts at eye-watering rates, now represents the single biggest threat to their survival. 50% of respondents to the joint survey have had to renew their energy contracts in the last six months of 2022, at a time of when prices were unfairly high in a non-competitive market.


“We are calling on the Secretary of State for BEIS to recognise the impossible situation facing our nation’s pubs, bars, restaurants, brewers and all those venues in hospitality, all of whom support communities across the whole of the UK. Government must ensure suppliers deliver a framework of fair and reasonable energy costs for hospitality businesses, and direct energy companies to allow those who were forced into contracts in 2022 at untenable rates to renegotiate, reflecting the now much lower wholesale prices, but also the record-breaking profits these suppliers have announced.


“Formally recognising our sector as an energy intensive and vulnerable area of the economy, as it has been throughout the pandemic and beyond, would also allow them access to the enhanced support under the EBDS.


“Without this, thousands of otherwise viable businesses at the heart of their communities will be lost, along with local, flexible, skilled employment. The growth that Government needs can and will come from our sector, but without the support on energy bills the results will be catastrophic.”


Read the letter here

Pubs are at the heart of every community, powering growth and accessible employment

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.”



New education films explain the role of Pubwatches and their powers

Licensees who want to set up or know more about the issues surrounding Pubwatches can get all the information they need by watching a new range of short information films on NPW FAQ YouTube page.
The films answer some of the frequently asked questions that members of the pub, hospitality trade and general public ask about Pubwatches and their powers.


The five short films, which run at around two minutes each, cover -  
What is a Pubwatch? 
Can Pubwatch schemes ban people? 
Can Pubwatch schemes control personal information? 
How can Pubwatch members identify a person who has been banned?
How long should we ban people?

The five short films and a longer combined edition can be seen on the NPW FAQ YouTube page.
Steve Baker, chairman of National Pubwatch, OBE said: “I hope that these films will provide people with a quick and simple means of obtaining answers to a range of issues. For example, I have personally been asked to explain banning ‘tariffs’ quite recently on a number of occasions so we have included that subject in the FAQ 5 ‘For how long should we ban people?’ 


“I would urge anyone interested in understanding some of the basic issues about how Pubwatch schemes might operate, to spend a few minutes watching the films. And I have no doubt that some of the public misconceptions around Human Rights and Data Protection will become clearer.”


The FAQ series has been produced for NPW by Mini Mammoth films. NPW would like to thank the management of The Gig House, Wokingham for the generous use of their venue.


NPW provides a range of free public service and educational films on its YouTube page.


Its free training film called Supporting Vulnerable People, allows licensees to help take frontline staff through a variety of scenarios on how to ensure the safety of customers. The film can be viewed here.


National Pubwatch also works in partnership with Best Bar None, the Home Office backed accreditation scheme for licensed premises, to support licensees and independent operators to reduce alcohol-related crime and meet their obligations under the Licensing Act. 


There are 18 updated policies and procedures, which are free to download for operators on both the National Pubwatch and Best Bar None websites. These include a range of topics from safeguarding vulnerable persons, Challenge 21/25, crime and disorder, drugs, searching and overcrowding. The policy documents which are available in pdf and Word versions can be viewed here.

Hospitality is seen as a career, but mainly by the newest of employees

More than two-thirds of people (69%) working in hospitality see their role as a career, with those most likely to view their position as long-term with development opportunities are those working in bar management or working for larger operators, according to the latest research from the Licensed Trade Charity, in association with KAM.

The newest employees within a business (those with under one year’s experience) were most likely to see hospitality as a career (83%), compared to just over half of people (54%) who had worked in the sector for 10 years or more.

This suggests, says KAM, that those working in the industry for a while are least likely to promote it as a career.

The research also showed that employees felt under pressure from staff shortages (37%). Employees were asked to name the worst things about working in hospitality, with reduced income (21%), extra shifts (19%), high customer expectations (14%) and job security being listed in the top five.

The pressure, due to staff shortages, was felt across all age groups, but most keenly experienced by the 55-64 year olds (46.3%). And it was those who had worked in the industry over one year who were showing the most fatigue, with results being pretty evenly high among the those employed for 3-5 years (38.8%), 10+ years (38.7%) and 5-10 years (37.5%).

Almost 50% of the employees who took part in the survey felt that people who work in hospitality are emotionally resilient, with only 5% in disagreement.

One in 10 respondents to the survey saw the signposting by their employers of services provided by the Licensed Trade Charity as a way of taking care of them. But more than one third (37%) chose ‘none of the above’, when answering a question about specific support and services (from employee assistance programmes to healthcare and support) being provided by their company to take care of staff. KAM says this suggests that large portion of the hospitality community feel employers should be doing more in this area.

Those employees with 10 years or more service (37%) and those who worked in businesses with more than 100 sites (38%) had the greatest awareness of the Licensed Trade Charity.

The Licensed Trade Charity’s Chief Executive James Brewster said: “It was heartening to see that 69% of hospitality employees see their role as a career, but our research also shows this reduces with the length of employment in the industry, perhaps suggesting that people who have worked in the sector for longer aren’t seeing the opportunities they hoped for. It also implies that those who have worked in the sector the longest, won’t be promoting it as a long-term career.

“The Licensed Trade Charity was pleased to see that awareness of our charity services had increased in recent years, however, there was still much work to be done, especially among those new to the industry and working in smaller businesses. 

“The charity is here to provide anyone and everyone working in licensed hospitality with support. As well as using our services themselves, individual licensees can promote our services to their staff, to provide support and assistance at all times. Whether it’s using our Helplines to offload or to discuss worries, or to find out what grants and help there is available, whether you are a licensee of a pub or the chief executive of a pub chain, our services are free for all to use.”

Source, KAM conducted 352 interviews with pub staff throughout the UK between August 31 and September 15, 2022.

For a copy of the Licensed Trade Charity On-trade Employee Research 2022, produced by KAM, please contact [email protected]

Hospitality Energy Bills To Almost Double As Support Falls Away

Businesses expect an 82% rise in their energy bills when the Government’s support is significantly reduced in April, according to a new hospitality sector survey.


Even before the support ends, businesses expect a 101% increase in energy bills this quarter, compared to the same period last year, according to the joint Q1 Hospitality Members Survey by UKHospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association, the British Institute of Innkeeping and Hospitality Ulster. 

The startling figures were raised directly with politicians today as UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls gave evidence to a BEIS Strategy Committee session on energy price support.

The survey also bolsters concerns raised by the sector about the behaviour of energy suppliers inflating quotes, without justification, with 56% reporting increased standing charges. 

The hike in bills is significantly affecting trading in the sector, with 42% of businesses reducing opening hours per day and 34% reducing the amount of days they open per week. 

In a joint statement, the organisations said: “Hospitality businesses and representatives have consistently warned that the exclusion of the sector from additional energy support means venues are facing unsustainable hikes in their energy bills. 

“These survey results reinforce those warnings, demonstrating the extent of this energy devastation on venues with bills set to almost double as a result of support significantly reducing. Arriving on top of the 101% increase compared to this time last year, the hit to the sector could not come at a worse time. 

“Despite continually raising the alarm over energy suppliers’ unscrupulous behaviour during this crisis, we continue to see these companies relentlessly pursue excess profits at the expense of hard-working businesses and undermining the Government’s significant investment. 

“November demonstrated the role hospitality can play in delivering growth, even during tough times, but we need to see this recognised by Government action; by reigning in energy suppliers and their poor conduct and unlocking hospitality’s potential in the Spring Budget. 

“The dramatic increases we are seeing in energy prices shows the desperate need for support and investment in hospitality, if our sector is to survive the current crisis and go on to deliver consistent economic growth, create jobs and reinvest in our local communities.”

Majority of employees would be more likely to leave a job that did not support wellbeing

Fresh insight from HIT Training reveals how important mental health first aid, a positive work life balance and progressive company culture are to sector employees.
85.8% of employees would be more likely to leave a job if there was no obvious support for employee wellbeing
45.3% of employees believe first aid for mental health would enhance their benefits package
83.3% of employees are more attracted to working at an organisation with a progressive company culture


Hospitality employers who invest in and prioritise their workers’ wellbeing are more likely to retain their teams for longer, according to new research from HIT Training.

The insight, which was the result of nationwide consultation with employers and employees, reveals that 85.8% of employees would be more likely to leave a job if there was no obvious support for employee wellbeing; and when seeking new opportunities, more than 83% of employees are more attracted to working at an organisation with a progressive company culture.

The pandemic hit the hospitality sector particularly hard, but Covid-19’s legacy has left businesses across all industries with a heightened focus on their teams’ wellbeing.

Many businesses are seeking ways to invest in this to provide tangible support for employees, from attention to mental health and flexible working allowances to neurodiversity considerations and beyond.

As a result, employee expectation for an enhanced benefits package has grown, with the majority of employees (69.1%) keen to see measures put in place that help create a positive work life balance, while first aid for mental health was a priority for 45.3%.

“It’s clear to see that employees around the country, but especially those in hospitality who have faced a tremendously difficult few years, are focused on the benefits that come with working for an employer which is invested in their wellbeing,” says Jill Whittaker, Managing Director of HIT Training. 

“For example, we know that almost 60% (59.3%) of companies would consider offering first aid training for mental health to their employees, while 61.7% would be interested in focusing training to help create a positive work life balance among staff, so the demand is there from employers seeking routes to training too.”

When asked what more their workplace could offer to enhance its benefits package, responses from employees included training in areas such as diversity and inclusion of ethnic minorities within the workplace (19.8%), LGBTQ+ inclusion (17.6%) and understanding the impact of menopause (19.4%) – vital topics that the businesses surveyed would also consider delivering training to their teams in. 

With employers’ and employees’ visions of what makes a progressive workplace that supports wellbeing clearly aligned, it’s essential that hospitality operators consider ways to train teams so that these values create a solid foundation that supports everyone in the workplace long into the future.


Results of The Licensee Index released

Licensees across 17 leading pub companies and family brewers have given a thumbs up to the support they have received from their pub companies as they begin to move forward post-pandemic.

Research consultancy,
KAM spoke to 1,600 licensees as part of ‘The Licensee Index’, the annual operator sentiment tracker for the UK leased and tenanted pub sector.

As part of the survey, KAM captures licensee satisfaction with their pub company across more than 52 different measures, including recruitment, training and information, ordering and delivery, product support, promotional support, landlord services, communication and the role of the BDM. Despite the incredibly challenging few years, the average satisfaction ratings have increased across 49 out of 52 criteria measured compared with pre-pandemic (Oct 2019.)

Katy Moses, founder & MD at KAM commented, “Given the last few years we have all had, it is even more critical than ever that pub companies stay close to their licensees to ensure their offer remains competitive. It is testament to the British pub industry as a whole that the vast majority of licensees are more than satisfied with the support they have received. This research gives pub companies the information they need to evaluate their performance in the eyes of their licensees and continue to strengthen their offer and support.”

The programme also captures net promoter scores (NPS) across each of the 19 pub companies, asking whether the licensee would recommend their pub company to other potential publicans. These scores have also significantly increased since 2021 from an average of +2 to +16. NPS is particularly strong among the Family Brewers.

Despite this overall satisfaction with support from their pub companies, KAM’s research confirms that the UK leased and tenanted pub sector is currently feeling optimistic but vulnerable. In 2020 the levels of optimism for the 12 months ahead hit its lowest among licensees since the programme began (5.6 out of 10) but optimism levels are now higher than 2019 levels (7.4 out of 10.) 

But licensees still obviously have a number of clear concerns with two of the biggest issues facing these businesses being cost inflation and the tax burden, according to the research. Employment costs and access to finance is also rising fast on their list of concerns.

Moses was positively surprised by the overall level of optimism and put this down to the strength and tenacity of our publicans to survive and thrive. But she stresses the clear need for continued government support: 

“Despite much optimism, it’s clear from this research that pubs are still very much in the eye of the storm. Following nearly two years of limited trade they’re now hit with rising utility costs, inflation and extreme employment issues. 

As licensees re-build and develop their businesses over the next 12 months plus, they will increasingly lean on their pub companies. Listening closely to those licensees will be a critical part of continuing a successful relationship and returning to a buoyant industry.”

Next month over 100 industry execs, with representatives from 25+ pub companies, will gather to discuss the results and agree what the industry can be doing to better support the leased and tenanted sector. Find out more here.

Licensee of the Year Award launches for 2023

The BII is delighted to announce that entries are now open for the 2023 BII Licensee of the Year award, sponsored by Sky.
It has never been more important to celebrate and recognise the tenacity, drive and determination of the people at the heart of the licensed trade, and the huge impact they have at the heart of their communities.

Returning this January, the competition is open to members and non-members of the BII alike, whether they are managers, lessees, tenants or free traders, with entrants from all areas of the industry.

LOYA is renowned in the industry as the toughest competition of its kind, with a rigorous four month judging process, culminating in the crowning of the winner at the prestigious BII Summer Event on Tuesday 20th June 2023. Every stage of the competition gives entrants an opportunity to evaluate their business, using the free mystery customer visits and feedback from the expert judging team of industry professionals.

Licensees can either nominate themselves or be nominated by colleagues, customers or suppliers on the
BII website here. Entrants must have been operating their business for a minimum of 2 years, hold a Personal Licence and have a food hygiene rating of 4 or 5 at their venue.

The 2022 winners, Amanda & Nick Hemming from The Heron Inn, are fantastic operators, demonstrating excellence and innovation across all areas of their business.
Speaking about winning in 2022, Amanda & Nick commented: “Winning LOYA 2022 has been a huge morale boost for the whole team. The competition was an eye-opener for us, it makes you really assess your business. It was good fun to feel part of something bigger and the Summer Event itself was great.”
Steven Alton, CEO of the BII: 
“LOYA recognises the best of the best from our sector, with key industry experts and operators leading the judging to ensure the standard of finalists goes from strength to strength. This year the competition will look at how licensees have diversified their businesses as they faced the challenges for our industry in recent times, as well as the positive impact they have on their teams and communities. 

“The whole team are looking forward to once again meeting the very best licensees, discovering how they continue to grow and adapt their businesses as they look to the future.”

Nominate or Enter Now!

Nominations are now open, closing on Monday 27th February 2023. Visit the LOYA pages on the BII’s website for more information, or contact the LOYA team on [email protected]

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