“Crisis Hit” Pubs Closing Early As Rising Costs Take Their Toll

Pubs across Britain are having to close as early as 8pm as they struggle to deal with the cost of living crisis and soaring energy bills, with some pubs closing on the quietest days to save money.

A survey conducted by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) revealed that 32% of pubs had reduced their hours

BBPA CEO Emma McClarkin said: “They have been grappling with a multitude of challenges. The decision to reduce hours is not one pubs want to make, it is a survival strategy in an unsustainably tough environment. The Government must act to support pubs to alleviate these pressures and ensure the local remains at the heart of our communities.”

Speaking to national newspaper The Mirror Nik Antona, Chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale said: “Pubs are swimming upstream against challenges such as escalating costs of goods and employing staff, sky-high energy bills, the burden of unfair business rates and customers tightening their belts.”

“Last orders at an earlier time is preferential to the pub closing its doors for good and the local community losing its central hub. The fact that venues are being forced to make this decision should serve as a harsh wake-up call for government to support UK pubs, lest we lose them forever.”

Earlier this month research by accountancy firm Price Bailey revealed that Pub closures increased to the highest level in over a decade last year, as 769 businesses entered insolvency, up from 518 in 2022, according to research by accountancy firm Price Bailey.

The data, which was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, revealed that 769 pub businesses entered insolvency in 2023, up from 518 in 2022. This equates to an average of 2.1 closures a day, up from 1.4 per day in 2022.

Price Bailey said a convergence of unfavourable factors was affecting the hospitality sector, including the high cost of energy, labour and wholesale food and drink.

Pub goers disposable income has been squeezed, the firm said, while the industry was also hit by interest rates rising to a 5.25% peak by the end of 2023, and the government’s £18bn energy support package for businesses tapering off from the end of Q1.

“While there are some glimmers of hope, underlying trading conditions remain challenging and rising labour costs continue to exert strong pressure on margins,” said Matt Howard, head of Price Bailey’s insolvency and recovery team.

“The inflation rate for pubs crept up again in January and hopes of an early rate cut appear to be receding. The first quarter is a much slower trading period for pubs, and while sales growth was impressive in December, many pubs are struggling to turn a profit.

“Many pub businesses piled up barely manageable levels of debt during the pandemic lockdowns and rate hikes are tipping an increasing number into the red. The longer rates stay at current levels, the more pubs are likely to close their doors for good.”