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Catch up with the latest developments involving BII licensee support, taking member statistics to the heart of Government, and interviews with CEO Steven Alton.


Our Letter to Chancellor ahead of the Spring Budget

I wrote to you last week to ask for your support in providing trading insight alongside your priorities for support and Government investment. A huge thank you to many of you who completed our short survey. We have used your insight in making the case for vital investment to the Chancellor ahead of the budget on the 6th of March. Your priorities of a VAT reduction for all pub sales and a long-term reduction in Business Rates are the key investments you need to secure and grow your pub businesses.
Read the letter here
 With 3 out of 4 of your businesses not making a profit due to exceptional energy, staffing and food & drink costs, you need vital investment. We will continue to make the case at all levels of Government for your pubs. Engaging your local MPs, gaining their backing for your pub businesses and leaving the Chancellor in no doubt of the value of in investing in pubs, will be key. Many of you have engaged your local MPs as part of our #MyPub campaign. I have recorded a short video to ask for your support once more.

Write to your MP here #MyPub

We will also continue to collaborate across the sector to make the case collectively for the support our sector needs. 
Thank you also for your insight into what you value most from your BII and what are your priorities for support in the coming year. We are leaving the survey open for the next few days to ensure we have as much feedback as possible. We will then share all the results and how we will further support your priorities.

Take part in our survey here

Please be assured that we will do all we can to support you.

Steve Alton


Share your voice ahead of the Spring Budget

I hope the Christmas period has been successful for you and your teams.  It was incredibly positive to see so many pubs full over the last few weeks, once again being the heart of their communities and bringing people together. A huge thank you to you all for looking after your customers so well, and in particular those who opened their doors on Christmas Day to ensure people were not on their own.

Whilst many of you have shared that trading has been strong over the last few weeks, the exceptional cost pressures that you continue to face have severely impacted your ability to generate a profit.

We have consistently shared the realities of trading for pubs with Government and the need for investment in these vital, local businesses.  At the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor specifically referenced pubs once more and extended business rates support for pubs in England for a further year from April 2024.

Whilst for many pubs this was greatly welcomed, we were incredibly disappointed that the devolved nations did not choose to offer the same level of support. The Government has now announced the full Spring Budget will be held on the 6th of March, where we need to ensure the Chancellor recognises the critical opportunity to invest in pubs, supporting their future growth.

We have consistently made the case to Government for the opportunity to unlock this growth through lowering unfair taxes, with a priority on reducing VAT.  Our ongoing #MyPub campaign has this priority at its heart and we encourage you all to invite your local MP into your pub to gain their support ahead of the budget.
#MyPub Campaign
 It is essential that we continue to share the current realities for your businesses with Ministers, MPs and officials to gain their backing for the investment that is needed.

We have designed a very short survey to ensure we have the strongest voice of our members behind our asks. Please spend a few minutes of your time to share your trading realities, wider priorities for Government support and what your BII can focus on which will make the biggest difference for you, your team and your pub.

Take our 5 minute survey here

With undoubtedly a challenging year ahead may I take this opportunity to wish you and your teams a very happy and successful 2024.

Steve Alton


BBC Interview with BII's Steve Alton

Talking to BBC News about the fantastic role of pubs in every community, how they have successfully evolved, the realities of trading, the need for Government investment & why the pub is not just for Christmas. BII #MyPub #HeartoftheCommunity


Our letter to the Chancellor ahead of the Autumn Statement

Firstly, a huge thank you to those of you who have already taken the opportunity to write to your MPs at this critical time. I can’t overstate how vital it is that MPs are left in no doubt about the importance of further investment in your pubs.

The Autumn Statement ahead is not a budget, however, the Chancellor can choose to further extend current measures, and you have been clear on the importance of early notice of the continuation of the current business rates relief for at least another year. We know that an extension of this relief to all of the devolved nations would also provide a huge amount of valuable support.

Pubs are clearly disproportionately taxed and we will continue to make the case for the overall reduction and reform in this area, with you telling us your priority is for a reduced rate of VAT, specifically for pubs and hospitality businesses.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have taken the opportunity to directly engage with Minsters, MPs and officials, making the clear case for investing in our nations pubs. At both the Conservative and Labour party conferences, I attended the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group sessions, where there was strong support for our nations’ pubs from MPs in attendance. 

We now need to ensure that all MPs back our clear case for Government investment in our pubs, so I would ask that if you haven’t already done so, you take a few minutes to write to your MP via our #MyPub campaign.

Contact your MP now

Ahead of the Autumn Statement, we have written directly to the Chancellor, to further make this case for investment, as well as to lay the foundations ahead of the Spring Budget.

Read our letter to the Chancellor here

As ever, we are here to take your voices to Government as well as to support you and your pub businesses at the heart of your communities.

Steve Alton

Trade bodies representing pubs and hospitality businesses call for urgent Government intervention on unfair energy costs and contracts

Since the beginning of the energy crisis, members of the trade organisations have faced a raft of business-critical challenges, with 50% being forced into contracts between July and December 2022, in an uncompetitive market when energy prices were at their highest. 

Hospitality trade bodies, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), UKHospitality (UKH) and the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) have today written to Amanda Solloway MP, the Minister for Energy Consumers and Affordability, calling for urgent Government support for hospitality businesses on the brink of collapse.

Ofgem, the industry regulator has investigated evidence from hundreds of pubs and hospitality businesses, showing the unfair nature and length of contracts, sky high standing charges and management fees, and aggressive sales tactics by some energy suppliers, but the action taken so far has been too little, and for many will be far too late.

A spokesperson for the trade bodies stated:

“Following any meaningful Government support tailing off at the end of March, operators now face bills between three and four times higher than in 2021, locked into contracts that are destroying their otherwise viable and vibrant businesses.

“We have been engaging with Government Ministers and officials, as well as Ofgem, for over a year now, sharing the often-immoral behaviour of energy suppliers, whose actions have plunged pubs and hospitality businesses into debt and uncertainty. Domestic customers have been protected to some extent, but small businesses supporting families and communities have been left exposed to untenable costs and contracts, threatening livelihoods the length and breadth of the UK.

“Ofgem’s limited powers leave it unable to intervene in contracts between these suppliers and hospitality businesses. We are calling urgently on Government to step in and take action to save essential community hubs and thousands of jobs from being lost forever.”

View the letter

Pubs are at the heart of every community, powering growth and accessible employment

The BII has today written to the Chancellor, calling for further support for its members ahead of the Spring Statement in March.
Results from a recent joint survey of BII, UKH, BBPA and Hospitality Ulster members, revealed the ongoing fragility of pub businesses, with half of BII respondents at risk of failure in the next 12 months, 43% not making a profit and 1 in 3 having no cash reserves.

The pressure from soaring inflation and ever rising costs across their businesses over the past year has seen pubs forced to make major changes to their trading, further damaging their vital recovery, with 60% reducing opening times and 1 in 3 reducing opening days to mitigate the significant rise in energy particularly.

Steve Alton, BII CEO commented:
“Our nations pubs have been devastated by the huge inflationary rises across all areas of their businesses and in particular energy costs ,which now represents the biggest single threat to their survival. 50% of respondents to the joint survey have had to renew their energy contracts in the last 6 months of 2022, at a time of when prices were unfairly high in a non-competitive market. 

“It is vital that our pubs are recognised as the essential businesses that they are, at the heart of their communities, providing not just tangible social value, but also skilled and flexible local employment. We offer employment opportunities that are open to all with the ability to deliver essential business skills, to build skilled jobs and careers, in our sector and beyond. They need and deserve support and investment, and without it we will see widespread business failure on a huge scale.

“We are calling on the Chancellor to provide that support with a sector specific reduction in VAT and a long term business rate reform through a reduction in the rates multiplier for our sector, recognising our unique social value in every community. We are also asking for Government to deliver fair and reasonable energy costs for pubs and an ability to re-contract poor and unfair energy deals secured in 2022.

“These measures, alongside an enhanced draught duty reduction for beer served in pubs with full delivery of the Alcohol Duty Reform including a freeze in beer duty, would ensure our members and the wider hospitality sector can deliver the growth, employment and social value needed in towns and cities across the UK.”

Read the letter to the Chancellor here.

BII responds to the Chancellor’s autumn statement

Following the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement today, the BII has issued the following statement from CEO, Steve Alton:

“Today’s statement from the Chancellor offers little immediate comfort to our members, all of whom are facing the most challenging and critical times for their businesses.

“As small businesses at the heart of their communities, run in the main by independent operators, they are amongst the hardest hit once again.

“We welcome the news that Business rates relief for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sectors will be continued and increased to 75% for 23/24, in line with our consistent calls on Government for ongoing support in this area.

“However, energy price rises are crippling these vital and viable businesses, and whilst the current Energy Business Relief Scheme offers some support, for many, it is having a limited impact in terms of mitigating the huge cost increases they are bearing. 

“The scheme only addresses a discount on actual energy usage, and other increased costs such as management fees and standing charges mean that bills have risen in real terms by well over 200% and in some cases up to 700% in comparison to 2021.

“Our essential bricks and mortar businesses must be recognised as extremely vulnerable, and whilst we await the review of the EBRS scheme at the end of this year, we will continue to take the financial realities for our members to key Government departments, making the case for the ongoing, meaningful support that is urgently needed.

“Whilst general inflation is at an all-time high, our members have seen price rises for food, drink and other essential goods and services for their venues at a much higher level, throughout 2022. 

“In addition, our recent survey with other industry trade bodies, revealed the impact of chronic staffing shortages for BII members, with 20% vacancies over the key festive trading period, leading to 1 in 3 operators having to reduce trading hours to cope with demand. Unable to trade fully in this golden quarter, for many, they will be facing a cliff edge for their businesses come January.

“Whilst the support for those more vulnerable individuals in the form of a rise in the National Living Wage is welcome for staff, these additional, unavoidable costs for our members, without further support from Government, could be the nail in the coffin for many small businesses.

“As the public face their own cost of living crisis, pubs cannot simply pass these rapidly escalating costs through to their customers.

“Our sector stands ready to be a key part of the stability and growth that is at the heart of the Government’s strategy. As national unemployment is expected to rise to 4.9% in 2023, we can offer local employment & rapid career progression as well as huge tax revenues into the Treasury. To do this, we need ongoing, meaningful support for energy bills and wider escalating costs, alongside full reform of the outdated and unfair Business Rates system, not just short-term relief.”

Time to invest in the skilled employment powerhouses of our nation's pubs and hospitality businesses

Time to invest in the skilled employment powerhouses of our nation's pubs and hospitality businessesThe British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) has today written to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, urging them to invest in our vibrant and vital sector to ensure that it can be at the heart of the economic recovery.

The letter, which comes before next week’s autumn statement, calls on the Government to recognise the fragility of pubs, but also the opportunity they represent for growth and employment for the country going forward.

CEO of the BII, Steve Alton commented:

“Times have never been tougher for our members and the wider hospitality industry, but the resilience they have shown over the past 3 years has demonstrated the immense appetite for the experience that they deliver, one that cannot be replicated anywhere else.

“Whilst they face huge challenges with rising energy costs and double-digit inflation across all areas of their businesses, they also have the power to be a key part of the economic recovery, providing thousands of jobs and career opportunities like no other sector can.

“With the right investment in these small businesses at the heart of their communities in every village, town and city, they can be a driving force for employment and rapid career growth, levelling up every area of the UK.

“They have been recognised as a unique and critical part of our communities and our economy by Government throughout the pandemic, and they now need the breathing space to be allowed to begin their own recovery, to the benefit of the entire nation.”


Read the letter here

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