• BBPA responds to measures announced in Chancellor's fiscal statement

    23 September 2022

    Responding to the Chancellor’s Fiscal Statement, Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said: “We welcome the steps taken by the Government in the Chancellor’s fiscal statement. The measures announced today will mean a boost of £500m for our sector, enabling growth following successive crises and allowing us to thrive in the future. Coupled with this week’s intervention on energy bills, these commitments will make a significant difference to our pubs and brewers at an acutely difficult time. “The Chancellor’s plans show that the Government recognises how extreme the cost of doing business has become and the enormous investment our sector makes, not only in the economy, but to the social fabric of communities across the breadth of the UK and why it must be protected. We look forward to the continued reduction of taxation on the sector at the next Budget - the need for a reduced VAT rate for hospitality and business rates reliefs remain as strong as ever. “We will continue to work with the Government to ensure that reforms to the draft beer duty rates are brought forward as soon as possible, meaning that our pubs and brewers can contribute to, and be at the heart of villages, towns and cities for many years to come.”

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  • Urgent clarity needed on energy and wider support to save hospitality businesses and jobs this winter

    20 September 2022

    Leaders of trade bodies representing pubs, brewers, bars, restaurants and hotels have written to the Chancellor ahead of the fiscal statement later this week warning that a lack of clarity on energy package could be fatal for businesses  In a letter to Kwasi Kwarteng, representatives from across the hospitality industry called for urgent clarity on the energy cap for businesses and wider support and a long-term plan to secure the future of the sector and save businesses and jobs across the UK.   They warned that business owners were making decisions now about whether they could survive the winter, and simply could not wait any longer to understand whether they should sign new contracts or not.  The letter came as No 10 said information on energy support for businesses would be announced in the fiscal statement but payments might need to be backdated to October.  The trade associations also urged the Government to think beyond the next six months, noting that ‘whilst the energy cap will be a critical lifeline and stem the situation over the next six months…more is needed to ensure businesses can head into winter knowing they have the chance to not only survive but thrive again’.   They called on the Chancellor to bring forward the following measures to support the industry both now but also looking to the longer-term:   an immediate reduction on VAT on all food and drink sales across hospitality  cancellation of business rates for the remainder of this fiscal year for all hospitality businesses regardless of size  In addition, the bodies stated that the regulatory burden placed on the sector needed to be eased, noting how upcoming Alcohol Duty and business rates reform had the potential to further reduce taxes on an already fragile sector.   In a joint statement industry leaders said:   “An energy price guarantee for business will provide some short-term relief for businesses on the brink of closure, but more support is needed, as well as a plan beyond the next six months. The initial announcement helped businesses breathe an initial sigh of relief, but most are still in the dark as to how the guarantee might help them.  “Our industry is one of only a few that supports jobs and livelihoods in every single part of the UK, and we have the potential to deliver growth in every single community we serve, but we’re being held back. We need policies that ensure our survival through the winter which will allow us to invest in the long-term potential of our sector, action on the tax burdens that are stunting our growth and a government that understands the extremely critical situation we’re currently in.”  Read the full letter here. 

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  • BBPA responds to PM's energy announcement

    08 September 2022

    Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement on energy bills for businesses, Emma McClarkin Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said: “By committing to an energy price cap for businesses today the PM has shown she understands just how critical the energy crisis has become for our breweries and pubs, and just how important pubs and brewers are to their communities. Whilst we still need detail on the level of the cap, this intervention will hopefully help thousands of business owners to breathe a little easier over energy bills in the coming winter months. “This announcement will avert the immediate threat of the energy crisis for businesses, but we need clarity and assurance for the long-term so our brewers and pubs can plan effectively and thrive at their heart of their communities long into the future. The cost of doing business is still a very real threat for many but we are encouraged by the direction this Government is going in. Now we need to hear more on business rates, VAT and keeping beer duty low.”

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  • Pubs and brewers send urgent warning of closures and job losses amidst soaring energy bills

    30 August 2022

    Following the rise in the consumer energy price cap, business leaders from across the brewing and pub industry have signed an open letter to the Government and leadership candidates warning small businesses will close and jobs will be lost if immediate action isn’t taken on energy bills for businesses The letter, signed by six business leaders warns that pub and brewing businesses across the UK are at risk of closure due to out of control energy bills, with upwards of 300% price hikes reported. Chief Executives of regional and family brewing and pub businesses to international companies came together to raise alarm of the ‘real and serious irreversible’ damage the energy crisis will cause if the Government does not implement an urgent support package that effectively caps the price of energy for businesses. It is an issue impacting the entirety of the industry’s supply chain, with major CO2 producer, CF Industries announcing it will be ceasing production of what is a critical component in beer production and dispense in pubs, citing market conditions as a key decision driver. The call from business leaders follows the consumer energy price cap announcement at the end of last week which set raised the limit at which consumer energy bills will be capped. Representatives from J.W Lees, Greene King, Admiral Taverns, St Austell Brewery, Drake and Morgan and Carlsberg Marstons, who make up the Board of the British Beer and Pub Association noted that whilst action on consumer energy prices was ‘essential’, without relief for businesses many jobs and livelihoods would be lost in the coming months. William Lees Jones, Managing Director of JW Lees said: “We have publicans who are experiencing 300% + increases in energy costs and some energy companies are refusing to even quote for supply.  “In some instances, tenants are giving us notice since their businesses do not stack up with energy at these costs.  These are not just pubs but people’s homes and the hearts of the communities that they sit in.  Government needs to extend the energy cap to business as well as households.” Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of Greene King, said: “The huge rise in energy bills is hitting the UK’s pubs hard – just as the sector was starting to recover from the pandemic. Up and down the country our tenants and free trade customers are receiving untenably high bills, with one reporting a rise of £33,000 a year for energy.  “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. Without immediate government intervention to support the sector, we could face the prospect of pubs being unable to pay their bills, jobs being lost and beloved locals across the country forced to close their doors, meaning all the good work done to keep pubs open during the pandemic could be wasted.” Kevin Georgel, Chief Executive, St Austell Brewery said: “Having survived the unprecedented challenges arising from the pandemic, pubs and breweries are once again faced with an existential threat because of circumstances beyond their control. The cost of energy threatens to cause mass business failure and the loss of thousands of pubs across the country. “As an example, one of our tenants - whose current gas contract is ending next week - was quoted yesterday with a 417% increase on what he currently pays for a one-year fixed price deal. It’s unsustainable for publicans to run their businesses in this climate and increases of this scale will more than wipe out the entire profits of the business. “We are now hugely concerned on behalf of our licensees, who are paying extortionate fees for their energy, and many remain in unsustainable out of contract rates. Some are finding it impossible to find an energy supplier that is willing to provide a contract for a pub. This situation is reflected in our own business where the cost of energy, wider inflation, and reduced trade levels are creating the perfect storm. “Pubs bring people together and play a critical role in their community and British beer is part of our rich heritage. The market is failing our sector and we need an energy price cap for hospitality before this crisis forces our licensees to close their pubs. “The government rightly stepped up and helped our sector during the pandemic. This investment in the survival and long-term recovery of the British pub and brewing sector is now at serious risk, unless some urgent and meaningful intervention comes soon.” Jillian MacLean MBE, Founder & CEO of Drake & Morgan, said: “The impact of surging energy bills is placing a further strain on our sector, and this, coupled with disposable income pressures is incredibly damaging to our industry. Once again, we find ourselves back in a position of uncertainty, faced with unprecedented challenges, and urgently need our government to step in with a solution. “Swift intervention and an urgent price cap on energy like households is needed to ensure the survival of businesses and the retention of thousands of jobs.” Paul Davies, Chief Executive Officer, CarlsbergMarstons said: “The UK’s brewing industry is facing a crisis far graver than that which we faced during the Covid lockdowns of the past few years. We have seen surging commodity prices and a doubling in the cost of malt, as well as C02, gas and energy costs nearly tripling since 2019. “On top of all this, our industry has felt the impact of an over 50% rise in aluminium costs for cans, plus rising labour costs. Without immediate, direct Government support, many of the UK’s craft and cask ale breweries will have no choice but to close for good. We are going to lose in one winter, generations of iconic beer brands.” Chris Jowsey, Chief Executive, Admiral Taverns said: “The impact of energy price rises on community pubs is truly frightening. One of our licensees reluctantly gave notice to leave his pub, after the cost of electricity increased by 450%, making it impossible to trade profitably. Let’s not forget that for most licensees, the pub is not just their business but also their family home. “I raised this issue with Minister’s over 6 months ago, but the government has failed to act. A small business price cap is essential if we want to retain local pubs and the jobs and support they provide to their communities across the UK.” Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive, British Beer and Pub Association said: “This rise in energy costs will cause more damage to our industry than the pandemic did if nothing is done in the next few weeks, consumers will now be thinking even more carefully about where they spend their money. 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. “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.” Read the full letter

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  • Meet with business leaders to secure future for pubs and wider hospitality, BBPA says to next PM

    16 August 2022

    In an open letter, the BBPA has called on leadership candidates to meet with business leaders to secure urgent relief on energy costs and secure a long-term plan for hospitality to avoid losing businesses and jobs across the country. The BBPA has written to Conservative Party leadership hopefuls Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to insist they convene a summit with business leaders to save pubs and other hospitality venues from closure should they become Prime Minister. In the face of rising energy bills, staff shortages and a cost-of-living crisis, the trade association has written to both candidates to call for a roundtable business leaders to be convened ‘at the earliest opportunity’ to ensure there is a plan for tackling the cost of doing business and a long-term strategy in place for hospitality. The letter comes shortly after leaders from across hospitality and the night-time industries, including the British Beer and Pub Association, called on Government to take immediate action on rising energy bills by introducing an energy cap for small businesses. Thanking both candidates for the support provided by the Government to the pub and brewing industry throughout the pandemic, the letter highlights how the next few months are likely to be more critical for the industry than periods of closures throughout 2020 and 2021. Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, Emma McClarkin said: “Our sector hangs in the balance, rising energy bills are crippling pubs across the country with only one in three turning a profit and that figure only likely to worsen as winter approaches. The situation is dire, what we are experiencing now is arguably worse than the pandemic because we are receiving absolutely no relief on out-of-control energy costs. “We need urgent action from the Government to save businesses and jobs in communities across the country, but we also need a long-term plan to ensure the health of the hospitality sector so it can continue to support the economic and social fabric of our country.” Earlier this summer the BBPA wrote to all candidates in the Conservative Leadership contest with a mini manifesto for brewing and pubs, outlining key asks of any new Prime Minister to ensure a thriving industry. Read the full letter.

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  • Thousands of jobs and businesses at risk due to cost of energy, warn hospitality leaders

    15 August 2022

    Five organisations representing the UK hospitality sectors have today (15 August) joined forces to write an open letter to HM Government calling for urgent action on energy prices. The British Beer and Pub Association, UK Hospitality, Night-Time Industries Association, Music Venue Trust and The British Institute of Innkeeping have jointly created the letter, which highlights, “rocketing energy prices (becoming) a matter of existential emergency.” With hospitality operators facing average annual bill increases in the region of at least 300%, businesses and jobs in the sector are at grave risk, and the letter sets out the urgent need for the Government and the Conservative leadership contenders to outline a comprehensive support package for the sector. Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said: “Rising energy bills are putting pubs in real jeopardy. Sudden, extreme price hikes are already forcing publicans to make tough choices, from reducing opening hours to cutting options on their menus. We are experiencing a perfect storm that is not only shrinking but eradicating profitability margins. We urgently need an energy price cap for small businesses before extortionate bills cripple pubs and we lose them forever in communities across the country.”  Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UK Hospitality said: “Hundreds of hospitality businesses across the country are staring into an abyss of closure and possible failure, leading to thousands of job losses; so it’s now or never for Government help and support if this vital sector is to survive the extraordinary threats pushing much of it to the very brink of existence.” Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust said:  "After two incredibly difficult years where venues have had to fight for simple survival, it would be an extraordinary outcome to see them closed and permanently lost because of an energy market that is completely out of control and not fit for purpose. The Government must act to create a genuinely functioning market for energy services that can deliver supply at a reasonable cost or step in to create an affordable supply for businesses".  Michael Kill, CEO NTIA said: "The Government cannot continue to understate the escalating crisis within the energy sector, the contraction of energy suppliers is compromising the free markets primary purpose of generating competitive rates and service levels. Limited competition has resulted in energy tariffs that are already unsustainable, and without the Government's intervention, businesses who have survived the pandemic, supported by public funding, will face further uncertainty, and in many cases, permanent closure." Steve Alton, CEO of the British Institute of Innkeeping said: “The majority of our members are single site operators, running small, independent businesses at the heart of their communities. Without urgent action from Government, these vital spaces for social connection, supporting local jobs, supply chains and community groups, will drown under the weight of the rising cost of doing business.  In many cases, the impact on their businesses is now worse than that of the pandemic, which has already left them with average debts of £40k per pub. The stark reality of the challenges now facing them cannot be underestimated. Government must act now to ensure we don’t lose these essential local community hubs forever.” The open letter to HM Government is as follows: An Open Letter to HM Government Pubs, restaurants, music venues, nightclubs, hotels and wider hospitality have reached the point where the conditions for trading are so prohibitive that many venues are already reducing the hours they open their doors. Others are confronted with the threat of permanent closure. With chronic challenges in the supply chain, labour shortages, interest rates and inflation, rocketing energy prices have become a matter of existential emergency for businesses in our sector. Hospitality operators face average annual bill increases in the region of at least 300%, putting at risk businesses and jobs. It is also increasingly clear that a significant number of energy providers have withdrawn service provision from the Hospitality market altogether. The primary purpose of a free market for energy supply to businesses is to create competition, which leads to improved services, competitive rates, resilient suppliers, and the ability to invest in long term and sustainable solutions to energy demand. In the Hospitality sector, there is unequivocal evidence that this primary purpose is failing. On Friday, the Government saw fit to declare a drought, in the face of inarguable evidence that weather conditions had caused a threat to the nation. The energy crisis is no less of a threat and deserves similar attention. Not all businesses will be able to survive this onslaught, and those that can will be closely considering how they can keep their costs down just to stay afloat. Hospitality provides 10% of jobs and 5% of GDP. It can be a powerful driver of economic recovery and growth for the nation, but it urgently needs a kick start. Business and consumer confidence is suffering, and we urgently need the Government and the leadership contenders to outline a support package for the sector.  We urge you not to allow the stasis of party politics to stifle the urgent delivery of action on energy.

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