Licensees call for government to help struggling pubs

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Licensees call for government to help struggling pubs

The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), which represents more than 13,000 independent licensees, has written to the chancellor calling for more financial support for pubs.

A recent survey of BII members found 62 per cent to be reporting of pub revenues being flat or down. In addition, most pubs were facing exceptional costs rises for energy, wages and raw materials.

The difficult trading conditions saw three out of four pubs operate unprofitably in 2023.

BII chief executive Steve Alton said: “Our members’ pubs continue to face a cost of business crisis, driven by exceptional cost increases in energy, staffing, food and drink supply.

“These short-term pressures are undermining long-term, viable businesses in every community, stifling investment and growth, with many now at risk of failure.

“Pubs are essential businesses at the heart of every community, providing accessible spaces for all. They are vital in supporting local suppliers including brewers, providing essential skilled jobs, and have the capacity to generate real growth in the economy.

“Pubs are highly valued by their communities and have evolved their offering to ensure they can both survive and thrive moving forward.

“The lack of profitability, driven by both short-term exceptional pressures and longer-term unfair taxation, undermines this future. The chancellor has recognised the vital role of pubs in our communities, and we now ask him to invest in pubs to secure their viable future for generations to come.

“This investment can be delivered via fair taxation through a reduction in VAT for all pub sales, which will deliver a meaningful investment that will have immediate impact, allowing pubs to plan, invest and deliver future growth, benefiting the economy and communities across the UK.”

Ahead of the Budget, CAMRA is calling for a reduction in draught beer and cider duty. This will help level the playing field between community venues like pubs and social clubs and the off-trade.

The Campaign is also urging for the scrappage of unnecessary rules that ban take-home draught beer and cider for most pubs and festivals, plus the reform of business rate relief schemes that are due to end in England next year, with money for devolved governments to do the same in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Details of the Campaign’s latest online lobbying activity for members will be announced soon.

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