Lazy eyes listen
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has warned that soaring energy costs will cause thousands of job losses in the hospitality sector, and has urged the government to extend a lifeline to the industry.
A further 2,000 pubs are at risk of closure, according to a BBPA report released on Wednesday, citing data from Oxford Economics, threatening 25,000 jobs. According to the research, on-trade beer sales will fall by 9% between 2023 and 2024, equating to 1 million fewer barrels of beer sold, or 288 million pints.
“The BBPA is calling on the government to use the Spring Budget to demonstrate that it understands how important pubs and breweries are to their communities, as well as the pressures the sector is facing, and to deliver a plan for sustainable growth with fair, modernized tax rates and a focus on the skills and training required to ensure pubs and breweries can thrive,” the association stated.
It also urged the chancellor to freeze duty rates, increase the discount for draft beer sold in pubs, and begin implementing the previously announced reduced rate for lower-strength beers on August 1.
The British government introduced the Energy Bill Relief Scheme in September 2022, which reportedly provided £18 billion ($22 billion) to businesses to help with soaring energy costs. However, the plan is set to expire in March, and a new support package is expected to reduce funding to £5.5 billion ($6.5 billion).
“After nearly three years of extremely difficult trading conditions due to lockdowns, an energy crisis, supply chain disruptions, and more, now is a make-or-break moment to save our locals and breweries from failure now and in the years ahead, we need the government to act now or risk losing something very special forever,” said Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA.