Pub landlords are facing an “extinction” this winter as a majority of operators said they feared being forced to shut down in the coldest months.
Some 65 per cent of publicans said they were likely to close over winter, despite a lucrative Christmas period free of Covid restrictions, when surveyed by industry title The Morning Advertiser.
Nearly three quarters of pub and bar operators said they could not afford monster hikes to energy bills, with some even seeing bills rise more than 500 per cent.
Businesses’ energy bills are not constrained with a price cap in the same way bills for households are.
Earlier this summer, the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) said the majority of its members were experiencing a minimum 300 per cent increase in energy costs, all while venues attempt to recover from the side effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Venues are also facing the costs of other headwinds spiralling while struggling to recruit front and back of house staff.
Pub industry chiefs have called on the government to issue support for the sector, with calls for measures ranging from a cap on energy costs, a VAT reduction and a freeze on business rates for the next year.
Action is needed now and not when the new Prime Minister steps into the job next month, Ed Bedington, editor of The Morning Advertiser, said.
“This situation is untenable and we’re likely to see the closure of huge swathes of pubs and bars across the UK unless something is done to tackle these spiralling costs,” he added.