Introduction to the March / April 2024 edition

I heard on the radio that trade in the hospitality sector in December was up by 6% when compared to December 2022 but then fell by around 2% to 4% in January. There was also a report in mid-February that a quarter of all hospitality outlets have now used up any cash reserves that they had.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) then chipped in with data showing that, in January, a pint of draught lager in a pub stood at £4.69 last month compared with £4.23 in January 2023, while a pint of draught bitter had risen by 9.2% to £3.90 during this period, up from £3.57 the previous year. These are, of course, national average prices. In London prices are, as we know, nearly double this.
CAMRA’s national chairman, Nik Antona, commented, “Simultaneous economic crises have meant that price increases are no longer unexpected, but instead are now a grim reflection of modern life. Spiralling costs of goods and employing staff, rising energy bills, as well as Government help with business rates being cut has meant hardworking pubs, social clubs and taprooms have had to push their prices to just stay afloat.” He added that, “Unless the Government announces a support package for pubs and pubgoers in the upcoming Spring Statement to cut tax on pints in pubs by 20%, many of the UK’s much-loved establishments will disappear altogether.”

You will find a report on the budget in the News & Views column. As Nik says, we understand why pubs need to increase their prices but that doesn’t make it any easier for the average drinker. Please do your best to help us to help you.
Tony Hedger