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Monday, December 5, 2022

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Pubs face ‘danger of not surviving this winter’ as bills raise from £9k to £25k a year

James Skinner, owner of Rose and Crown in Bebington, Wirral, has called on the government to do more after receiving a shocking new offer on energy bills. The Ofgem energy price cap will rise to £3,549 on October 1 before rising to £5,386 in January. Mr Skinner, 32, said they are currently paying “triple” what they paid in May.

He was shocked to find that his electricity bill had gone from 14 pence a day to 40 pence a day.

He said: “In practical terms this means we have gone from around £9,000 a year for electricity to over £25,000.

“It’s worth remembering that it’s just electricity. This does not include gas for hot water or to keep buildings warm.

Bar bills are set to soar this winter as other pub owners also fear a ripple effect on small businesses across the country.

Mr Skinner has warned his gas bill could reach £400 a month on top of rising electricity bills, forcing pubs to cut back.

Pubs can be forced to close due to rising prices, Mr Skinner added: “It can be the difference between closing a pub and keeping it open.

“We face the very real danger of not being able to make it through this winter, and I know that’s where most of the small businesses are.

“We no longer have cash reserves for emergencies. They have all recovered from COVID.

Read more: Plumber says using a simple device can save ‘fortune’ on gas bills

“Small businesses need support, they need it now. Some of the COVID relief will have to come back in the form of reduced corporate tax rates, full VAT relief, not just food, soft drinks and accommodation, but also alcoholic beverages, and should be reduced to a maximum of 10% to allow operations officers breathing room to keep lights on and doors open.

Steve Alton, chief executive of the British Hotels Association, said many pubs were in a vulnerable position.

He told the Oxford Post: “Most of our members are single-site operators, running small independent businesses at the heart of their communities.

“Without urgent government action, these vital spaces for social connections, support for local jobs, supply chains and community groups will be overwhelmed by the rising costs of doing business.”

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