Businesses expect an 82% rise in their energy bills when the Government’s support is significantly reduced in April, according to a new hospitality sector survey.
Even before the support ends, businesses expect a 101% increase in energy bills this quarter, compared to the same period last year, according to the joint Q1 Hospitality Members Survey by UKHospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association, the British Institute of Innkeeping and Hospitality Ulster.
The startling figures were raised directly with politicians today as UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls gave evidence to a BEIS Strategy Committee session on energy price support.
The survey also bolsters concerns raised by the sector about the behaviour of energy suppliers inflating quotes, without justification, with 56% reporting increased standing charges.
The hike in bills is significantly affecting trading in the sector, with 42% of businesses reducing opening hours per day and 34% reducing the amount of days they open per week.
In a joint statement, the organisations said:
“Hospitality businesses and representatives have consistently warned that the exclusion of the sector from additional energy support means venues are facing unsustainable hikes in their energy bills.
“These survey results reinforce those warnings, demonstrating the extent of this energy devastation on venues with bills set to almost double as a result of support significantly reducing. Arriving on top of the 101% increase compared to this time last year, the hit to the sector could not come at a worse time.
“Despite continually raising the alarm over energy suppliers’ unscrupulous behaviour during this crisis, we continue to see these companies relentlessly pursue excess profits at the expense of hard-working businesses and undermining the Government’s significant investment.
“November demonstrated the role hospitality can play in delivering growth, even during tough times, but we need to see this recognised by Government action; by reigning in energy suppliers and their poor conduct and unlocking hospitality’s potential in the Spring Budget.
“The dramatic increases we are seeing in energy prices shows the desperate need for support and investment in hospitality, if our sector is to survive the current crisis and go on to deliver consistent economic growth, create jobs and reinvest in our local communities.”