Rishi Sunak urged immediate action on rising costs | Policy | News

Unlike households, UK businesses have received no help from the government to cover rising costs. There are concerns that many great British pubs are not at risk of going under as a result of spiraling bills.

The chancellor is facing calls to act now to introduce a “£470m pub emergency fund” to help ease the burden faced by locals.

The Liberal Democrats, who are calling for further action, want ministers to commit to giving hotel companies a £1,500 subsidy for their energy bills.

They also want the government to partially reverse its VAT hike to lower the cost of pints and encourage more Britons to visit their local pub.

Last month VAT for hospitality establishments was refunded at a rate of 20 per cent, which was temporarily lowered to 12.5 per cent during the pandemic.

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The Liberal Democrats are pushing for the tax rate to be lowered to 17.5 per cent, which they say will cut the price of a pint by an average of 8p and save £189m over the course of a year.

Deputy party leader Daisy Cooper told Express.co.uk: “Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have left businesses struggling under the weight of rising energy bills.

“Now countless treasured local pubs are finding it hard to keep the lights on.

“The government must create an emergency fund to support our struggling pubs with their energy bills and drastically reduce VAT to help them attract more customers.

“Liberal Democrats have a strong track record of campaigning to save our pubs, bars and restaurants.

“They form the heart of our local communities.

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“The Conservatives have taken the hospitality industry for granted and this May we have an opportunity to send them a message and make them listen: take care of our venues.”

Liberal Democrats say their plan could be paid for through an extraordinary tax on the profits of oil and gas producers.

Households across the country saw their energy bills soar by as much as 54 percent earlier this month due to the rising cost of wholesale gas and electricity.

The energy price cap was increased by the equivalent of £700 for ‘typical’ levels of energy consumption.

Ministers have since introduced an emergency package to help reduce the surge and help families struggling to cover the costs.

Companies are not covered by the price cap and the government has not offered them additional support.

Energy experts Cornwall Insight have forecast that business gas bills have risen by 250 per cent on average.

Treasury did not respond to a request for comment.

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