Leeds pubs on the brink of closure in 'extinction level event' as cost of living crisis deepens

Leeds pub owners have warned that without significant government support many bars could go bust within weeks as the cost of living crisis deepens.
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With gas and electricity bills soaring across the UK businesses are being hit by a substantial rise in costs with hospitality owners faced with being forced to reduce opening hours to make ends meet.

Many pubs have seen substantial drops in footfall with families unable to spend as they once did.

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John Gyngell (left), co-owner at North Brewing, described their current struggles as particularly difficult coming on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Gary LongbottomJohn Gyngell (left), co-owner at North Brewing, described their current struggles as particularly difficult coming on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Gary Longbottom
John Gyngell (left), co-owner at North Brewing, described their current struggles as particularly difficult coming on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Gary Longbottom
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Speaking to the YEP, Martin Greenhow, the Managing Director of the Mojo bar group in Leeds, said the impact was an ‘extinction level event’ without immediate action.

"Without some dramatic intervention then I don’t know any businesses that can whether this storm for very long,” he said.

“From speaking with someone this morning he referred to it as an ‘extinction level event.’ What we’re looking for, hoping for, praying for is something pretty immediate.”

Martin told the YEP that 40 per cent of hospitality businesses have seen their energy bills increase by as much as 500 per cent in the past two weeks alone.

The Yorkshire Evening Post is joining National World sister titles across the country to call on new Prime Minister Liz Truss to take urgent action over the cost of living crisis.The Yorkshire Evening Post is joining National World sister titles across the country to call on new Prime Minister Liz Truss to take urgent action over the cost of living crisis.
The Yorkshire Evening Post is joining National World sister titles across the country to call on new Prime Minister Liz Truss to take urgent action over the cost of living crisis.
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He described the crisis as a ‘two pronged attack’ with businesses concerned that people who would normally spend a portion of their disposable income on going out to bars and clubs will instead shun them this winter.

"Electricity is the water of the 21st century without it nothing moves and when you ramp that up it squeezes everything out.” he added.

These concerns were echoed by fellow bar owner, Russell Bissett, founder of Northern Monk Brewery, who detailed how their CO2 costs had risen from £410 to roughly £2,500.

"It’s about £65,000 a month in additional costs and other breweries will be suffering similarly. It’s very difficult to see how we can continue. It’s simply not tenable to continue with the cost levels as they are,” he explained.

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“We would have to put up our costs significantly and that just wouldn’t be accepted by consumers or retailers.”

Russell warned that if immediate action isn’t taking then the UK risks losing pubs all together.

He said: "This crisis is impacting some of the cornerstones of British culture. Pubs have been at the centre of our communities for hundreds and hundreds of years.

"They remain a really important place for so many people from a social and community perspective.

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"Many small towns and villages across the UK have a pub as their main meeting point.”

John Gyngell, co-owner at North Brewing, described their current struggles as particularly difficult coming on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"There’s seemingly been no response to the issue and there hasn’t been for the past few months. We went through Covid and the pandemic, thought we were coming out of something but in fact I think this feels worse,” he said.

"A lot of businesses were saddled with debt during the pandemic through no fault of their own and we are now in the process of paying those debts so it’s a double whammy.”

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All three have called on new Prime Minister Liz Truss to take immediate action. Martin from Mojo said:

"Get a grip of the situation and do it now. Treat it as if it were cancer because if you leave it then it grow it, it will magnify and it will do untold damage.”