The pub industry last night joined forces with your Daily Star to urge readers to get down the boozer and save the Great British local.
Pub leaders called on drinkers to do their bit as new figures revealed a whopping 86% of locals are now considering calling last orders as early as 8pm or having days-long closures in a desperate bid to survive the cost of living crisis.
They want us all to ditch the traditional Dry January plans and enjoy plenty of fun times inside warm boozers both at Christmas and into the New Year as the winter bites.
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The industry has been increasingly struggling as energy bills soar in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and inflation continues to sit at a near 40-year high.
There are also major staff shortages across the sector as it tries to recover from lengthy Covid lockdown closures and restrictions.
Bosses are now worried that cash-strapped revellers may swerve the pubs, particularly in January, as the cost of living hits hard.
Pub groups are now pleading with beer lovers to ‘use them or lose them’.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, which conducted the worrying research, said: “If you can, please get out and support your local this Christmas; see what they’ve got going on and soak up festive spirit amongst family and friends, because there really is no better place to come together than at the pub.
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“And the sad reality is, if we don’t support them now, they may not be there to enjoy next year.”
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, told the Daily Star: “With so many pubs having closed in recent years, nobody wants their local to follow suit – use it or lose it!”
Chief executive of Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), Tom Stainer added: “Once a pub is gone it is gone forever, and its intrinsic role in bringing communities together is lost.
“We must therefore do all we can to support these vital community venues before it is too late.’’
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Researchers found 85% of pubs are thinking of closing for one or two days a week as their bills soar to eye-watering levels.
Another study has found 331 restaurants, cafés, pubs and catering companies were unable to pay their debts in November – an increase of 57% compared with a year ago – and 62% more than in November 2019.
One of the worst hit by the crisis is The Railway Hotel in Cardiff, which has been forced to use candles instead of turning on its lights after its bills tripled.
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In a bid to save more cash in January the owners are considering closing early on Sundays and on Mondays.
Ian Liddle, who runs the pub with Samantha Birks, said boozers are warm and welcoming spaces and pleaded with people to use them more to save the industry.
He said: “Turn your heating off and come into the pub, it is warm in here.”
Meanwhile, Brits should “never get drunk again” to ease pressure on a struggling health service, a killjoy NHS boss warns. NHS Confederation head Matthew Taylor says heavy drinking increases pressure on A&E services.
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