One of the oldest pubs in England battling for survival due to ‘outrageously more expensive’ bills

·2-min read

One of the oldest pubs in England is “fighting for survival” due to soaring energy bills.

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans, which has been in business for more than 1,200 years, is battling for survival amid bills which have gone up tenfold.

Ronan Gaffney, general manager of Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, said: “It’s outrageously more expensive.

“It’s not like at home where you can turn everything off but the fridge and freezer, we’ve got certain things that need to stay on for health and safety and general upkeep.

“And our light bill is 10 times more than what it is in a house because at home you can turn off all the lights except the one you’re in. But you can’t do that in a pub.

“So we don’t have a choice, we can’t really cut down on energy bills but we are being charged double the amount.”

With winter around the corner, Mr Gaffney warned pubs will see extra costs, and for many, less customers.

He added: “Winter for a lot of pubs, like my own, is the quiet season.

“If pubs don’t have an infrastructure or financial backing then I can imagine that a lot of them will struggle.”

Mr Gaffney said its going to be a challenging time for pubs across the UK and it is a problem that can only be solved by those in authority.

He called on the government to take action as the energy cap is due to be increased again, squeezing household and businesses even further.

He added: “Pubs have done all they can since the start of the pandemic. They have been up in arms for the last three years and nothing has been done about it.

“The only thing to do now is to keep appealing to the government as it’s not just pubs that have been messed around, it is everyone.”

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, warned that many pubs will now face closures and job cuts.

She said: “Soaring energy bills are forcing publicans to make tough choices, with many already reducing opening hours to remain viable. It could have a worse impact than the pandemic.

“Publicans are between a rock and a hard place. They are trying to cover their costs, but they also have customers who are tightening their belts. It’s completely unsustainable.”