West Yorkshire pubs hit hard by big freeze

Pubs and hotels across the region will be suffering financially because of the bad weather, it has been claimed.

The snow and ice have cost some businesses up to two weeks of takings, experts say.

The winter weather has compounded problems already being felt because of the economic downturn and insolvency and pub trade experts say that the crunch will come for many businesses in January.

Experts at business rescue and recovery specialists Begbies Traynor say the double whammy of tightening consumer belts and severe weather problems have left thousands of pubs, restaurants and hotels counting the cost of missed Christmas parties, reduced local trade and cancelled business travel that will force many over the edge.

Julian Pitts of Begbies Traynor said: "The hospitality sector has seen falling revenues and rising prices over the past few years, and with business borrowing difficult to secure in the sector, the missing revenues will be the final straw for some hospitality businesses, both small and large.

"Although some local community pubs have seen an uplift in trade as people unable to work enjoyed impromptu daytime get-togethers with friends and neighbours, the majority of rural pubs, town centre venues and restaurants have suffered, and some venues have seen takings slashed by 90 per cent, losing tens of thousands of pounds of much needed revenue.

"It will be January before the real cost is counted and the knock on effects are felt when supplier payments and payroll are due in what is the quietest trading month of the year for many."

Pub management firm Winterhill Leisure, which specialises in managing struggling pubs for breweries and leisure operators, is already seeing the signs that 2011 will be the hardest year for decades for the pub trade.

Operations director James Waddington said: "We are seeing a deluge of CVs and enquiries from candidates who are worried about their jobs and are already looking for more secure positions with new employers."

Stephen Blake of the CMA  Photo: Vikki Ellis

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