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UK Hospitality reacts to energy support package

Responding to the Government’s energy bill support for businesses, UK Hospitality CEO Kate Nicholls welcomed the news but called for “a more comprehensive package”.

The package will fix wholesale electricity and gas prices, at £211 per MWh and £75 per MWh respectively, from 1 October for the subsequent six months, with the potential for a review into extending it for the most vulnerable businesses at the end of this year. Projected by some to cost £150 billion, this measure would (roughly) halve the energy bills for businesses this coming winter.

Earlier this week, while visiting New York City, new Prime Minister Liz Truss singled out UK pubs as being in particular need of support: “For businesses that are vulnerable, who don’t have the wherewithal to invest in their own energy supply, we will be providing support in the longer term. That does include businesses like pubs. The business secretary [Jacob Rees-Mogg] is conducting a review of exactly which businesses will be included; that review will be completed within three months. I can reassure people who own pubs that they are exactly the type of businesses that will get that longer term support.”

Nicholls, who has been advocating for Government intervention on the energy crisis for the hospitality industry, expressed relief at the package: “This intervention is unprecedented and extremely appreciated as we head into an uncertain winter with numerous challenges on many fronts. The inclusiveness of the supports announced today – covering businesses small and large – will be extremely beneficial to the sector. A sector that provides a huge number of jobs, many of which are now more secure.”

However, Nicholls said that more needed to be done beyond supporting the “immediate survival” of restaurants, bars and cafés: “…we will not relent in our pursuit of a more comprehensive package to safeguard businesses and jobs. The levers of reduced VAT and business rates reliefs are still available to the Government, and there must also be a comprehensive package to ensure that there is no cliff edge when these measures fall away.”

A tweet from the British Beer & Pub Association echoed this sentiment: “We welcome this very significant and critical intervention. It will be a lifeline for many pubs & brewers this winter. However, more support is needed to tackle the cost of doing business and we need a plan beyond the next six months to allow businesses to plan.”

In related news, industry charity The Drinks Trust is fundraising for £350,000 to support hospitality workers who will struggle with their domestic energy bills.

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