Some of Britain’s historic pubs may not survive the ongoing energy crisis.
British pub culture is facing an existential threat due to skyrocketing energy costs and rent hikes. Landlords are experiencing energy increases of 500% to 600% and are passing those costs along to tenants.
The average cost of a pint could increase from £4 (US$4.59) to £24 (US$27.52), Metro reports.
“Once a pub closes it very rarely comes back,” says non-profit Campaign for Real Ale CEO Tom Stainer.
“What you can say with surety is you can’t possibly pass on these energy increases and you can’t increase the pint by 500%. You’d be talking about pounds of pounds added on to the average cost per pint—and we already know because we did a survey this summer that more than 50% of the British public now believe the cost of a pint is already unaffordable.”
Why it’s important
Britain is being hit hard by the ongoing European energy crisis. As we previously reported, England and the rest of Europe are struggling with energy shortages due to the ongoing war in Ukraine. Household energy prices in the U.K. are predicted to be triple their typical rates this winter. England is also facing a crippling inflation crisis, with economists warning that the United Kingdom could be facing 22.4% inflation rates in 2023.
Pubs are just one area of the economy that is suffering, but the cost is coming at the expense of many of the oldest operating small businesses in the country.
Ye Olde Fighting Cocks is a pub that opened in the year 793 and was forced into insolvency due to the effects of COVID. It is unsure if it will survive the winter.
“It has… survived the English Civil War, 17 recessions, two World Wars, and five pandemics including the Black Death,” says Metro.
As many as three-fourths of Britain’s pubs are at risk of closing this winter.
“Our energy bills so far are three times higher than in May of this year… Standing charges on our electricity have increased from 14p/day to around 40p/day. In real terms, it means we have gone from paying around £9,000 a year for electricity to over £25,000. It’s worth bearing in mind that this is just electricity. In terms of how it will impact our business, well who knows. It could quite literally be the difference between closing the pub and staying open,” says James Skinner, owner of the Rose and Crown pub in Bebington, Wirral.