Advertisement

Pub under pressure from soaring costs forced to shut doors by Dry January

The owners of the Saye and Sele Arms told customers they were closing the pub for January and would assess whether it was 'viable' for them to reopen in light of the cost of living crisis. (Facebook)
The owners of the Saye and Sele Arms told customers they were closing the pub for January and would assess whether it was 'viable' for them to reopen in light of the cost of living crisis. (Facebook)

A pub facing huge pressure from rising costs has been forced to temporarily close due to Dry January cutting customer numbers amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.

The Saye and Sele Arms in Broughton, Oxfordshire, announced that it would close for the month while its owners assess the "viability" of continuing with their business.

"Unfortunately, we have now closed the pub temporarily, as, due to the ever increasing energy costs, suppliers costs etc combined with the traditional downturn in business post Christmas, dry January etc it is not even viable to open the doors right now," read a post on the venue's Facebook page.

"We will now re evaluate our business model and make a decision as to the viability going forward of continuing to try and make the business work."

Dry January, an initiative of charity Drink Aware, encourages participants to give up alcohol for a month to improve their health, save money and raise funds for those in need of help due to alcohol abuse.

The Saye and Sele Arms will close for January while owners assess its viability as a business. (Facebook)
The Saye and Sele Arms will close for January while owners assess its viability as a business. (Facebook)

The UK's cost of living crisis has seen utility bills escalate over the past year, with food prices and other bills also rising, causing deep issues for hospitality businesses.

A new scheme to support businesses with their energy bills is due to be announced later on Monday, but is expected to be significantly cut after chancellor Jeremy Hunt warned existing spending is “unsustainably expensive”.

The less generous level than the current scheme is expected to be presented in the House of Commons on Monday.

The existing scheme, which began in October, caps the unit cost of gas and electricity for all businesses until the end of March.

However, the Treasury is expected to replace that scheme with an initiative that offers a discount on wholesale prices rather than a fixed price.

And on Monday research by think tank Resolution Foundation found the crisis has not have yet peaked, and the average household could be a further £2,100 worse off by the end of the next financial year.

After housing costs the typical income for a working age family is set to fall 3% in the year to the end of March, then by 4% over the following 12 months.

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt talks to a television crew outside the BBC headquarters in London, Britain November 18, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is expected to announce a new, reduced, package of support for businesses such as pubs. (Reuters)

Read more: This ridiculous chart shows why top bosses have earned more than your entire salary already this year

The hospitality industry has already suffered monumentally since the start of the pandemic when venues were forced to close for months at a time.

A spokesman for the British Beer and Pub Association told Yahoo News UK that Dry January need not mean avoiding pubs, as 85% of venues now serve alcohol-free alternatives to traditional beer.

He said the BBPA is "asking people to remember how much joy spending time at the pub with those closest to us brings and to banish the January blues by supporting the struggling industry, an opportunity that has been off the cards for two years running at the start of the year".

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA said: "These are tough times for the country and people are understandably finding ways to cut back.

A pint of amber ale on a table in a London pub. The focus is on the beer, the background is blurred and makes the place anonymous. Light and natural colors.
No visible trademarks.
The BBPA is encouraging people to meet in local pubs and support the struggling hospitality industry. (Getty)

"But in what is usually an already gloomy time of year, we’re encouraging people to seek out their community hubs and come together with friends and family at their local.

"Not only will you be greeted with warmth and friendly faces, but you’ll be supporting much-loved businesses that urgently need help to survive.

“Pubs are all to all and regardless of what you’re ordering at the bar there is something for everyone. Our nation’s ingenious brewers have made great strides in developing new ranges of delicious low and no alcohol options over the past few years, so if you can please head down to your local and taste what’s on offer. A warm welcome awaits you and you might even find a new favourite tipple amongst friendly faces.”