New analysis from the Liberal Democrats has revealed that 56 pubs, restaurants, and cafes in Milton Keynes are at risk of closure following the Chancellor’s Spring Budget last week.
The Budget confirmed that business energy support will be slashed by a whopping 85%, by moving from a cap on unit costs of electricity and gas, to a discount covering a small proportion of the price.
According to the Federation of Small Businesses “one in four small firms anticipate either closing, downsizing, or radically changing their business model” when business support is slashed in April.
The analysis reveals that small and medium sized pubs, restaurants, and cafes in Milton Keynes could be forking out an extra £2,594 each.
Local Lib Dem councillors have criticised the Conservative government’s lack of financial support and are calling for the energy bill support package to be extended for another six months.
Liberal Democrat Leader on Milton Keynes City Council, Councillor Robin Bradburn said:
“We want our city’s economy to go from strength to strength and over the past few years have invested millions of pounds into local businesses and high streets, but we can’t do it all. The hospitality industry has been hit hard with rising inflation, skyrocketing energy bills, and the cost-of-living crisis, and instead of stepping in to help, the Conservative government have ignored calls for support from businesses.”
Earlier this year, the City Council allocated an extra £600,000 as part of the 23/24 budget to help high streets and local businesses and to keep the local economy strong, and previously launched a multi-million-pound Economic Recovery Plan in response to the pandemic.
Councillor Bradburn concluded:
“With no help from the Government, pubs, restaurants, and cafes will see their bills soar from the start of April, and with inflation at 10.4% and household budgets squeezed further this will force more people to eat and drink at home. What is the point of cutting the price of beer in pubs if there are no pubs left open? The lack of support from the Government will threaten them to call last orders once and for all.”