Five organisations representing businesses in the UK’s events and hospitality sectors have collectively written an open letter to Government calling for it to take urgent action on energy prices, including the creation of a support package for the sector.
The Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA), Music Venue Trust (MVT), UK Hospitality, The British Institute of Innkeeping and The British Beer and Pub Association have used the letter to highlight that operators are facing average annual bill increases of around 300%, and that jobs are at risk.
UK Hospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said hundreds of hospitality businesses in the UK are “staring into an abyss of closure and possible failure”, leading to thousands of job losses.
MVT CEO Mark Davyd said, “After two incredibly difficult years where venues have had to fight for simple survival, it would be an extraordinary outcome to see them closed and permanently lost because of an energy market that is completely out of control and not fit for purpose. The Government must act to create a genuinely functioning market for energy services that can deliver supply at a reasonable cost or step in to create an affordable supply for businesses”.
NTIA CEO Michael Kill said, “Limited competition has resulted in energy tariffs that are already unsustainable, and without the Government’s intervention, businesses that have survived the pandemic, supported by public funding, will face further uncertainty, and in many cases, permanent closure.”
The open letter to Government is as follows:
Pubs, restaurants, music venues, nightclubs, hotels and wider hospitality have reached the point where the conditions for trading are so prohibitive that many venues are already reducing the hours they open their doors. Others are confronted with the threat of permanent closure. With chronic challenges in the supply chain, labour shortages, interest rates and inflation, rocketing energy prices have become a matter of existential emergency for businesses in our sector.
Hospitality operators face average annual bill increases in the region of at least 300%, putting at risk businesses and jobs. It is also increasingly clear that a significant number of energy providers have withdrawn service provision from the Hospitality market altogether. The primary purpose of a free market for energy supply to businesses is to create competition, which leads to improved services, competitive rates, resilient suppliers, and the ability to invest in long term and sustainable solutions to energy demand. In the Hospitality sector, there is unequivocal evidence that this primary purpose is failing.
On Friday, the Government saw fit to declare a drought, in the face of inarguable evidence that weather conditions had caused a threat to the nation. The energy crisis is no less of a threat and deserves similar attention. Not all businesses will be able to survive this onslaught, and those that can will be closely considering how they can keep their costs down just to stay afloat.
Hospitality provides 10% of jobs and 5% of GDP. It can be a powerful driver of economic recovery and growth for the nation, but it urgently needs a kick start. Business and consumer confidence is suffering, and we urgently need the Government and the leadership contenders to outline a support package for the sector.
We urge you not to allow the stasis of party politics to stifle the urgent delivery of action on energy.