An open letter written by five organisations in the UK nightlife and hospitality sector has warned of club closures and threats to jobs.
The letter as seen by Mixmag, details issues that venues may face due to the rise of energy prices — with calls for the UK government to intervene.
The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) and Music Venue Trust (MVT) say that "rocketing energy prices" would see music venues, pubs, and nightclubs' annual bills rise by at least 300%.
With businesses and jobs a risk, the letter asks the UK government to present a comprehensive support package for the sector as unlike consumer energy bills, there is not a price cap on commercial energy costs.
Read this next: Iconic Ibiza club Bora Bora to close down in October
The letter has been signed by UK Hospitality, Night Time Industries Association, Music Venue Trust, The British Institute of Innkeeping and The British Beer and Pub Association.
Earlier this month, a study from The NTIA through CGA revealed that one in five nightclubs in the UK have closed down since the beginning of the pandemic — leaving 20% fewer clubs in the country than there open in early 2020.
Despite the government offering grants and loans to keep many businesses alive during the pandemic, many venues have been impacted by increasing rent, new developments, and less footfall due to the cost of living crisis.
Read the full letter below.
“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 It is also increasingly clear that a significant number of energy providers have withdrawn service provision from the Hospitality market altogether.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.”
Becky Buckle is Mixmag's Video and Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter