Thousands of UK pubs may go bust

More than 10,000 businesses are at risk of closure due to inflation, with rent and energy costs soaring, UKHospitality says

Britain’s hospitality sector is facing “as big a crisis, if not bigger” than during the Covid pandemic, the chief executive of trade body UKHospitality, Kate Nicholls, has told The Daily Mail.

She warned that 10,000 pubs and restaurants could soon be out of business thanks to a “perfect storm” of inflation, with soaring energy and rental costs.

“We’re already seeing a lot of independent operators handing in the keys and walking away,” she said on Sunday.

Nicholls estimates that 20,000 of UKHospitality members’ businesses are still operating at a loss and 30,000 have no cash reserves.

“I’ve never seen such a toxic cocktail of costs. It is a perfect storm,” she said.

The latest data shows inflation in the British restaurant trade is running at 13% to 17% as a result of supply-chain disruption due to the pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine, as well as higher wages due to staff shortages.

“Cost inflation means we have to trade 20% up just to stand still. We know that keys are being handed in at some tenancies,” said Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association.

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