The increase in duty on beer, cider, wines and spirits could prove a fatal blow for some restaurants and bars, who are facing rising costs this year, according to Regency.
Managing Director Alex Demetriou said: “We are going into a year with food inflation at an eight year high as a result of poor harvests and increased exchange rates. That has put real pressure on the hospitality trade.
“With business rates increasing, minimum wage legislation coming into force in April and the cost of pensions and Insurance Premium Tax increasing in June, restaurateurs and pub owners were already facing a difficult task of balancing their books.
“I am very surprised that the Chancellor has chosen to go ahead with the planned increase in duty on beer, cider, wines and spirits at this time. The reality is that most operators will have no choice but to pass the extra costs on to the customers and many restaurants and pubs will struggle to stay afloat.
“Although we are seeing a lot of restaurant openings and pub refurbishments we are also seeing a lot of closures and people cutting back. We are able to offset many of the increases to our members because we continue to add more volume to the group and therefore increase the buying power. This is more important now than ever before.
“The hospitality and leisure trade pays more than its fair share in to the public purse through a variety of taxes. Closures will mean less money for the Government in the long run and we do not feel the Chancellor has got the balance right.”