With gas and electricity prices soaring – and set to go even higher before the end of the year – almost three quarters of pubs have said they could be forced to close their doors for good.
Research carried out by the Morning Advertiser has showed that more than 70% of businessowners do not believe they will make it through the winter without government intervention.
More than 65% of respondents said their utility costs had more than doubled, while 30% of pub owners said they had trebled.
A further 8% said their utility bills had increased by a staggering 500%.
In a letter to the chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has urged the government to act now as the industry faces “grave uncertainty”.
Co-signed by the Campaign for Real Ale, the note states: “We have entered one of the most challenging times for the brewing sector.
“Small brewers are reporting that their energy bills are doubling or trebling, putting their future ability to brew at risk.”
Business groups have called it “crucial” to use “tried and tested” methods deployed during the Covid-19 pandemic, to deploy help swiftly.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) added that, with one in three employers expecting soaring energy bills to act as a barrier to growth, ministers must “explore all options for navigating the crisis”.
It called for a pandemic-style “time to pay” leniency from HMRC over tax bills, a freeze in business rates, a programme to improve energy efficiency by offering upfront support to insulate homes and businesses and extra aid for energy-intensive industries.
Matthew Fell, chief policy director at the CBI, said: “We can’t afford to lose sight of the fact that many viable businesses are under pressure and could easily tip into distress without action.
“Decisive action now will give firms headroom on cashflow and prevent a short-term crunch becoming a longer-term crisis.”