PUBS and restaurants could close this winter without support to tackle soaring energy bills.
There are growing fears that some hospitality venues won’t survive as they struggle to cope with rising running costs.
UK Hospitality is calling for “urgent action” to help with bills in an open letter to the government.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the group which represents venues, said the sector is being pushed “to the brink of existence” with closures and job losses a real possibility.
The industry is calling for a cut to VAT or an energy price cap.
There is no price cap for businesses, like there is for households, meaning they face much sharper increases to bills.
Pubs and restaurants are preparing to sign new energy deals as their old tariffs expire this autumn.
They face an average increase of around 300% under new deals being offered.
Meanwhile households have been warned energy bills could top £5,000 next year, according to experts.
The price cap on energy bills is calculated based on average household use – so your actual bill depends on your own usage.
In May, former Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced households will get a £400 discount off their energy bills from October.
But this support is not available for businesses, with many still struggling to recover from the impact of lockdown.
Many of the businesses the same businesses that were forced to close during lockdown – such as pubs, theatres, music venues and restaurants, are among those set to be hardest hit.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said the industry is facing “a perfect storm”.
She added: “Rising energy bills are putting pubs in real jeopardy.
“Sudden, extreme price hikes are already forcing publicans to make tough choices, from reducing opening hours to cutting options on their menus.
“We urgently need an energy price cap for small businesses before extortionate bills cripple pubs and we lose them forever in communities across the country.”
A poll of 1,000 small business bosses found two thirds of those who have been running their business since before the pandemic said the last two years have been the most challenging.
Nearly half of them (47%) feared the next 12 months could prove even more difficult.
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Source: The Sun