The letter warns that “rocketing energy prices” threaten to form an “existential emergency” for smaller venues, which come autumn will see fuel bills 300 per cent higher than the same period last year.
The letter, signed by UK Hospitality, Night Time Industries Association, Music Venue Trust, The British Institute of Innkeeping and The British Beer and Pub Association, calls for the government to break free from “the stasis of party politics” and put forward a comprehensive support package for the industry.
Here’s the letter in full:
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 per cent, 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 It is also increasingly clear that a significant number of energy providers have withdrawn service provision from the Hospitality market altogether.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 per cent of jobs and 5 per cent 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.
The letter comes following a difficult period for the hospitality sector, which has seen one in five night clubs shut their doors since the start of the pandemic as venues struggle to recover from their extended closure.
The government has come under increasing pressure recently to take action on the looming energy crisis, with Boris Johnson reluctant to make major policy decisions prior to the results of the Conservative leadership contest. The ballot currently on its way to Tory members will produce a new Prime Minister by 5th September.