Industry leaders are warning that pubs and breweries across the UK are on the brink of closure as some energy bills are feared to rise by up 300%.
With the energy price cap set to increase once again in October, and the rising cost of living crisis continuing to make its impact felt nationwide, bosses of six of the UK’s biggest pub and brewing companies have penned and signed an open letter to the government urging it to act in order to avoid “real and serious irreversible” damage to the sector.
The bosses of Greene King, JW Lees, Carlsberg Marston’s, Admiral Taverns, Drake & Morgan, and St Austell Brewery have all signed the letter.
They all sit on the board of British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).
The letter has been penned because, while domestic customers are facing an 80% increase in average bills in October, businesses operate without a regulated price cap, and this is said to be leaving pub owners struggling to find suppliers willing to power their venues when contracts come up for renewal.
One regional pub had seen their energy bill jump £33,000 for the year, according to Nick Mackenzie, chief executive officer of the Greene King Group – which has more than 2,700 pubs across the country.
“While the government has introduced measures to help households cope with this spike in prices, businesses are having to face this alone, and it is only going to get worse come the autumn,” Mr Mackenzie explained.
“Without immediate government intervention to support the sector, we could face the prospect of pubs being unable to pay their bills, jobs being lost and beloved locals across the country forced to close their doors, meaning all the good work done to keep pubs open during the pandemic could be wasted.”
The six pub and brewery group bosses have demanded the government implement an urgent support package that would be similar to capping the price of energy for businesses.
“We have publicans who are experiencing 300% + increases in energy costs and some energy companies are refusing to even quote for supply,” added William Lees Jones – Managing Director of JW Lees .
“In some instances, tenants are giving us notice since their businesses do not stack up with energy at these costs. These are not just pubs but people’s homes and the hearts of the communities that they sit in.
“Government needs to extend the energy cap to business as well as households.”
In response to the open letter, a government spokesperson said: “No government can control the global factors pushing up the price of energy and other business costs, but we will continue to support the hospitality sector in navigating the months ahead.
“That includes providing a 50% business rates relief for businesses across the UK, freezing alcohol duty rates on beer, cider, wine and spirits and reducing employer national insurance.
“This is in addition to the billions in grants and loans offered throughout the pandemic.”
“The offender then made off on foot, leaving two women and a man he was with, behind.
“Officers believe that the suspect is possibly from the Merseyside area. If you know the man or have any information relating to the crime, please contact GMP on 101, quoting reference number INC/0075491/23.
“Alternatively, information can be passed anonymously to the independent charity – Crimestoppers – on 0800 555 111.”
Featured image: GMP
Salford police officer sacked for ‘depraved’ relationship with vulnerable woman
A police officer has been sacked after carrying out an ‘improper relationship’ with a crime victim.
Paul Banks, who worked as a PC in Salford, has been dismissed and barred after a Gross Misconduct Hearing on 24 and 25 January 2023.
In the hearing, a panel heard how Banks had advised a vulnerable woman to create an email account – which he then accessed to view images and videos, some of which were explicit, that she had uploaded.
He viewed the content more than 200 times and never reported them to his manager or the force’s Professional Standards Branch.
In the end, his own colleagues sensed that something was amiss and raised the alarm.
GMP has now slammed Banks’s ‘depraved behaviour’ and stressed that ‘there will never be a place in GMP for anybody who behaves like him’.
A statement also said that he ‘abused his position of trust’.
Detective Chief Superintendent Michael Allen, head of GMP’s Professional Standards Branch, said: “Banks knew full well that his conduct was egregiously wrong.
“By cultivating an improper relationship with a vulnerable member of the public who he met in the course of his policing duties, the officer has been deservedly sacked from GMP.
“Not only has he disgraced himself, but his depraved behaviour dishonours policing and undermines the principled endeavours of his colleagues, who everyday do a valiant job catching criminals and protecting our communities.
“Indeed, it was Banks’ own colleagues who sensed something was amiss and triggered the first step in a process that rooted him out.
“The prudence of his colleagues is to be commended and I am grateful to the IOPC for conducting an investigation that left no stone unturned.
“No decent member of the police service wants to work with the likes of Banks and there will never be a place in GMP for anybody who behaves like him.
“He abused his position of trust and for that the Office of Constable has been rightly stripped from him.
“GMP is a better force without Banks and we will recruit a new officer into his post who will discharge their duties with honour and espouse the professional and compassionate values of the GMP workforce.”
Banks, who had been on restricted since the investigation began in December 2020, was dismissed without notice.