The Workers Union is backing a cash boost for the pub trade.
In a statement released this morning, a spokesperson for the organisation said: ‘The pub trade is swimming against a tide of rising prices and decreasing patronage. Without help, many locals will be forced to close, creating long-term damage to communities up and down the country.’
The Workers Union’s comments came after the The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPS) highlighted the findings of research outfit Oxford Economics. The advisory firm has predicted that 28 million fewer pints will be sold in the next financial year, thanks to the cost of living and the spiralling costs of running a business.
BBPA told Sky News that 450 sites closed in 2022, while an additional 2,000 are now at risk of disappearing, along with 25,000 jobs. The trade body has petitioned the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, to argue for government funding for the industry.
A statement published by the BPPA said: ‘With cost pressures and slowing consumer spend, combined with a further duty increase in August, there are significant fears of widespread closures, with a worrying 2,000 pubs estimated to be at risk.
‘And with the current Energy Bill Relief Scheme support ending on 31st of March, many pubs and breweries will again be subject to rocketing bills that threaten them to declare last orders once and for all.’
The Workers Union Says…
The pressures felt by hospitality businesses have a long precedent. As far back as 2020, The Workers Union news service drew attention to the plight of clubs, pubs and restaurants during COVID. In August last year we also covered an open letter signed by chiefs at six of the biggest pub and brewing companies. The letter cited the prospect of ‘real and serious’ damage if extra help with costs failed to materialise.
While additional support was made available, many publicans still face rising prices and falling trade, as people opt to cut costs and stay at home.
Many will say that the public purse is not a bottomless resource, that businesses must survive on their own merits. They will point to the unprecedented levels of support provided by the government during COVID and the energy crisis.
But taking this position ignores the very real value created by pubs in places that may not have other community facilities. These places are the lifeblood of the areas they serve, as well as cultural jewels emblematic of a British way of life that has stood for centuries.
Now we must decide to support them, before it’s closing time for the last time.