Thousands of pubs could close because it is not “viable” for landlords to raise the price of a pint to £15 or £20 to cover their soaring energy bills, a leading campaigner has said.
Tom Stainer, the chief executive of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) group, told the Daily Star the cost of a pint would have to rise to “ridiculous” amounts to match the increase in running costs that pub landlords now face.
He said some pubs were seeing bills go up by 500 to 600 per cent.
Mr Stainer added a Camra survey this summer found that more than 50 per cent of the British public think that the cost of a pint is already unaffordable, meaning customers would be put off by a £15 or £20 pint.
“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 per cent,” he told the paper.
“It just isn’t viable for pubs to pass (price hikes this big) on to consumers because people wouldn’t come drink at pubs anyway.”
He said: “Thousands (of pubs) could be affected by this. And they can close – and the difference with (pubs compared to) other sorts of businesses is once a pub closes it very rarely comes back.”
Mr Stainer called on the government to take action and support the hospitality industry by reviewing energy costs, business rates and beer tax.
His warning follows craft brewer BrewDog’s announcement it will close six pubs over its rocketing energy bills as it criticised the Government for being “clueless”.
Bosses of six of the UK’s biggest pub and brewing companies, including Greene King, Carlsberg Marston’s and Drake & Morgan, also signed an open letter to the Government, urging it to act to avoid “real and serious irreversible” damage to the sector.