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Cost of living crisis 'worse than Covid-19 for hospitality sector'

Pubs, bars and restaurants are struggling more in the cost of living crisis than during the Covid-19 pandemic, an economic adviser has said.

Sacha Lord, Greater Manchester's night-time economic adviser, warned outgoings have tripled.


Mr Lord said soaring inflation and energy bills as well as supply problems had led to a "perfect storm tearing through the heart of the sector".


The government said it fully supported the sector during the pandemic and now.


UK inflation has risen at the fastest rate for 40 years and is now more than 9%.


Last month it was reported the number of pubs in England and Wales continued to fall, hitting its lowest level on record.


Mr Lord has called on the government to reduce energy bills for landlords with some venues predicting extra costs of up to £20,000 by the end of the year.


One restaurant reported utility bills of more than £9,000-a-month despite opening for only five days per week.


Mr Lord warned the hospitality sector "is now in an extremely perilous position, more so than during the Covid pandemic."


He added: "Trading is now unviable for many and I believe we will see closures at an unprecedented level over the 12 months leading to unemployment on an unimaginable scale.


'Frightening'


"The speed at which the economic turmoil has devastated businesses in the sector is frightening and I am being contacted every day from landlords who are unable to continue to trade due to financial pressures."


The night-time economic tsar is calling for a temporary reduction in VAT on business energy bills from 20% to 5%.


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Why are prices rising so quickly?

People warned against not paying energy bills

A HM Treasury spokesman said: "We've stood behind the hospitality sector throughout the pandemic with a £400-billion package of economy-wide support that saved millions of jobs and offered a lifeline to hundreds of night-time businesses up and down the country."


He also said additional support had been given with a Recovery Loan Scheme and a recent £1,000 increase to the Employment Allowance which would cut taxes.

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