Three-quarters of Britons expect their utility bills will increase this year – and more than a third say they are putting cost-cutting before environmental concerns, according to a survey. Some 75 percent expect to see the cost of the energy they use increase, including 49 percent who expect the bills to increase “a lot”, research by Ipsos Mori found. While 70 percent believe the cost of their food shopping will go up, while just under two-thirds (64 percent) expect to see an increase in the cost of their other household shopping.
City Pub Company’s Clive Watson has warned independent pubs are set to suffer the most.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Watson said: “For a lot of independents who don’t have access to other shareholders to support them, it’s going to be tough.
“They’ve had limited sales over the last two years. Hopefully, we’re coming out of this pandemic and sales are recovering but then we’ve got all these cost increases and they need to make money to pay back the debts they incurred over the last two years.
“It’s going to mean a contraction in the sector and that’s not good for the Government because they’ll raise less revenue about the hospitality industry.
“We’re probably in one of the most taxed industries there so if you actually nurture the industry in the long run, you’ll get more money for the exchequer.”
It comes as UK households have increased their spending on alcohol by 153 percent since 1987, figures show.
The increase in spending coincided with alcohol becoming 72 percent more affordable in the UK over the same period, according to the NHS Digital report.
Spending on alcohol in supermarkets and off-licences but excluding pubs, bars and restaurants rose to £27.1 billion in 2020, up from £10.7 billion in 1987, figures compiled for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Family Food report show.
However, since total household spending had increased by 317 percent since 1987, spending on alcohol as a proportion of this had actually fallen to 2.2 percent over the same period from 3 percent.
The price of alcohol decreased by 4 percent relative to retail prices in the decade to 2020 while disposable income per adult increased by 9 percent over the same period, meaning alcohol had become 14 percent more affordable since 2010.
Drinking alcohol was the main reason for around 280,000 admissions to hospital in 2019/20 – 2 percent higher than in 2018/19.
The number of prescriptions for drugs to treat alcohol misuse in England was 167,000 in 2020/21, 1 percent higher than the year before.
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Alcohol Health Alliance UK spokeswoman Sarah Schoenberger said: “The low cost of alcohol in the off-trade means England is paying a high price in terms of harm.
“With alcohol-related deaths also at record highs and millions of us drinking at harmful levels during the pandemic, urgent action is required to tackle this growing crisis.
“We welcome the Government’s plan for an alcohol duty system whereby stronger drinks always pay more tax, per unit alcohol, than weaker drinks, to help reduce alcohol harm.
“To have the biggest impact on public health, we urge the Government to go even further and increase duty rates which are at a historical low. This will address the increased affordability of alcohol and is an important step to save lives, reduce harm, and reduce the pressure on the NHS.”