More than a third of pubs and restaurants are facing last orders by early next year due to the pressures of historically high inflation.
Pubs have been hit with soaring energy, food and wage costs, as they seek to rebuild after the Covid-19 pandemic.
These mounting costs have resulted in 35 per cent of businesses anticipating they will be operating at a loss or unviable by the end of the year, a survey by UKHospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) and Hospitality Ulster, revealed.
Industry leaders at the trade associations said many venues were “on the brink due to the cost of doing business crisis.”
Three-quarters of operators (77 per cent) said they were experiencing a decrease in people eating and drinking out due to the economic crunch.
Bosses called on the government to help the hospitality sector “survive this generational crisis” so it could help turbo-charge the economy.
They urged ministers to issue further business rates relief and to slash VAT to encourage consumers to drink and dine out.
“Prior to the energy crisis, the sector was showing signs of having bounced back strongly from the pandemic and looking to grow,” chiefs of the trade associations said.
In the survey, some 89 per cent said they were either not confident or pessimistic that the current levels of government support would protect the industry in the next six months.