Pub and brewing businesses across the UK are at risk of closure in the coming months because of “out of control” energy bills, the industry has warned.
Bills have increased by an average of around 150% across the sector, with some businesses facing price hikes of more than 300%, the British Beer and Pub Association said.
There are concerns that the crisis could cause “real and serious irreversible” damage to the industry.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, leaders of six of the country’s biggest pub and brewing companies said: “Without swift and substantial intervention from Government there is no doubt we will witness a huge number of pubs close their doors for good, leaving individuals without jobs during a cost-of-living crisis and communities without its social heartbeat.
“Breweries that supply them are equally facing eye-watering increases in energy costs.”
The industry called for an urgent support package that effectively caps the price of energy for businesses and additional grant support for pubs.
“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,” said Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of Greene King.
“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,” added Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association. “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.”