A quarter of Scottish pubs and bars 'face energy bill hike of over 500%'

28 September 2022 by
A quarter of Scottish pubs and bars 'face energy bill hike of over 500%'

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) has urged the government to support hospitality businesses facing a "tsunami" of rising costs ahead of the winter season.

Nine in ten (87%) operators said that they will need government support to survive the winter in a survey conducted by the SLTA.

The survey gathered responses from over 600 Scottish hospitality businesses, which represents more than 10% of the country's licensed premises.

One in four Scottish bars and pubs said they are facing an increase in energy costs of over 500%. The Caterer's own recent energy survey found operators nationwide were facing a similarly sharp rises in bills.

Nearly half (45%) of hospitality businesses already expect to reduce their opening hours to conserve energy, while another 50% of outlets are trading at significantly lower levels compared to pre-Covid, the SLTA survey found.

Meanwhile, one in two hospitality venues are still paying back their Covid debt.

It comes after the announcement of the chancellor's mini budget last Friday, which left operators feeling like they had been "thrown under the bus", as it notably avoided a cut in business rates or hospitality VAT.

Colin Wilkinson, managing director of the SLTA, said: "For many outlets it won't be economically viable to remain open and one in 10 of our respondents plan to close during the winter months and nearly one in two expect to reduce opening hours.

"Our sector is a crucial part of the tourism industry and reduced opening hours will have a knock-on impact for Scotland's wider food and drink sector, and for employment within the sector.

"Our pubs and bars have worked very hard post-Covid and Brexit to showcase Scotland's hospitality industry, but with a tsunami of rising costs and low consumer confidence we urgently call on local and national governments to help us through the winter.

"We must protect the jobs that outlets provide directly and the associated jobs in the wholesaling, brewing/distilling and food-producing sectors."

The SLTA represents independent licensed trade establishments and personal licence-holders. It is the only Scottish body that represents all sectors of the licensed trade, including hotels, pubs, restaurants, off-sales and late-night premises.

Image: Sampajano_Anizzav / Shutterstock

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