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16th March 2023

British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) reacts to Spring Budget 2023

Today’s Spring Budget Statement offers little comfort for BII members, running pubs at the heart of every community across the UK. The Chancellor’s specific reference to “the great British pub” as “one of our most treasured community institutions”, was not matched with the vital ongoing support needed for pubs paying excessive energy charges, leaving many facing imminent business failure as meaningful Government support falls away at the end of the month.

Steve Alton, BII CEO commented:

“Many of our members had no choice but to take unfair and untenable energy contracts, when prices were at their highest from last summer, and the impact of this combined with wider inflation and wary consumers with less disposable income, has left their businesses fragile and facing an uncertain future.

“Without further support from Government, Ofgem must now step in urgently to tackle the energy suppliers holding our sector hostage with sky high standing charges and energy prices that will in many cases be 3 to 4 times that of 2021 rates. Forcing suppliers to allow businesses to recontract at the much lower rates now being seen in the market needs to be prioritised, as without it, many otherwise viable pubs will be forced to close.

“The freeze on duty rates in the short term, and the increase on Draught Relief from 5% to 9.2% in the summer will be welcome, if felt directly by pubs. In addition however, the actual impact will depend heavily on the RPI rise that will be applied alongside this relief from 1st August 2023.

“The positive steps taken by Government to support families with enhanced childcare support, a freeze on fuel duty and other measures, may provide some confidence to allow consumer spending to rise, but for the immediate future, pubs will be facing significant trading challenges.

“Our pubs provide accessible, skilled jobs in every community and will be key to providing flexible opportunities in every area of the UK, aligning with the Government’s policies on getting people back into meaningful employment. They can only do this if they are supported to thrive as local businesses and this Budget has absolutely missed the opportunity to help pubs struggling to cope with a perfect storm of challenges.

“Outside of the immediate issues our members are facing, we will continue to make the case for a full overhaul of the outdated and unfair tax system that affects our pubs, specifically VAT and longer term Business Rate reform.”

Notes to the editor:

About the British Institute of Innkeeping:

The BII is the leading independent licensee support organisation for individuals working in hospitality, with 10,000 individual members running premises across the UK – predominantly tenanted, leased, managed and freehold pubs. The organisation provides expert helplines, online business support, and guidance on key industry issues, and savings on a range of supply deals for its members, keeping pubs thriving in the heart of every community.

Press release from the BII.

For further information please contact:

Molly Davis

Head of Communications

Sentinel House, Ancells Business Park, Harvest Crescent, Fleet, GU51 2UZ

Mob: 07539 377752