CAMRA warns cut in energy bill support puts UK’s 'beloved pubs and breweries at threat of permanent closure'
Changes to the energy bill support scheme could come later this month
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The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has warned the UK’s beer scene could be hit hard by a reported reduction in support businesses will receive with energy bills. The UK government is expected to continue energy bill support for hospitality businesses until 2024, but at only half the current rate.
Speaking at a meeting with business groups earlier this week, chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the support going forward would be at a "lower level" to protect the public finances from volatile energy markets.
The revised energy support scheme is expected to run for 12 months until March 2024. Details on the level of support are set to be outlined next week with Mr Hunt saying: "No government can permanently shield businesses from this energy price shock.”
Commenting on the reduction in government support, CAMRA chairman Nik Antona, said: “The prospect of energy bills massively increasing from April this year will be extremely worrying for hospitality businesses – particularly community pubs, social clubs and small breweries and cider producers that are vital for consumer choice and a thriving beer scene.
“The cost of goods and employing staff continues to rocket and customers are tightening their belts. Many businesses wonder how they will be able to turn a profit if energy bill support is halved.
“If this cut is announced next week, then the Chancellor’s Budget in March will need to provide extra support for hospitality businesses if we are to avoid the nation’s beloved pubs and breweries facing the threat of permanent closure.
“It will be vital that venues get more help with the burden of business rates – and for the new, lower rate of duty charged on draught beer and cider to be introduced as quickly as possible to help pubs and small, independent breweries compete with the likes of supermarket alcohol.”