September 7, 2022 1.00 pm This story is over 14 months old

Concern for hospitality industry amongst ‘sobering’ bill rises

The industry’s likely to face the worst of the energy crisis

Hospitality and leisure businesses could face the prospect of shutting down due to crippling energy bills, a senior councillor has warned.

Concerns were raised about how small businesses will fare during the “challenging times” over the coming months at a council meeting.

Pubs, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses which rely on consumers having spare cash are thought to be particularly vulnerable.

Many are already seeing their energy bills triple or worse.

Councillor Colin Davie, the Executive for economic development, environment and planning, said it was a question of not whether businesses will fail, but how many.

“The hospitality, leisure and tourism industry will carry the brunt of business closures,” he told the executive meeting.

“There are inevitably going to be failures. The question is what level?

“We are working with the Federation of Small Businesses and I personally support most of their proposals.

“The challenge is keeping the Lincolnshire economy as resilient as possible for the next 18 months.”

Liz Truss faces calls to act over the energy crisis | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The meeting took place as new Prime Minister Liz Truss was meeting the Queen to form her government, and councillors were told that the outcome may depend on how much support she offered.

Businesses won’t receive protection under the energy price cap, unlike households.

Lincolnshire County Council leader Martin Hill said: “There is big concern about small businesses. The new Prime Minister will have to come up with something.”

He described the cost increases as “sobering”, and predicted challenging times ahead.

The council’s own budget will feel the pressure, with their electricity bill expected to go up to 100% from October and gas go up 200%.

Andrew Crookham, executive director for resources, said: “All eyes are on Westminster as to how they respond to the crisis. The message has been that there is no new money coming, but that may change with the new administration.”

Councillor Hill promised that no capital works projects which had been started would be affected, although there could be difficult decisions the following financial year.