Aberdare pub owner says government needs to offer financial support as energy bills rise

Video report by ITV Cymru Wales national correspondent Rob Osborne

A pub owner says extreme financial support is needed for hospitality businesses as energy bills rocket.

Laura Banyard owns the Temple Bar in Aberdare. It's been her home for the last 16 years. She says the cost of living crisis is far worse than the Covid pandemic.

She's not alone. Adrian Emmett, landlord of the Lions Inn, Treorchy says it's as "critical" as Covid and the lockdowns.

Laura says she hasn't had any financial support to cope with energy bills rising and drastic action may be needed as a result. That could include cutting back on opening times and reconsider delivering meals to customers.

'I wake up most mornings with a knot in my tummy wondering what winter will bring. It's scary'

Most of her regular customers live alone. She said: "They come here for warmth and someone to talk to. I haven't got it in my heart to turn them away or put prices up. Their bills are increasing too. Some have Sunday lunch delivered because there's no local authority meals on wheels service over the weekend. They rely on me. But cooking meals is costing me more."

Laura says something that costs an average household £1 in energy use costs her village pub at least £5. "My bills are the same as big pubs and chains like Wetherspoons."

Additional costs such as Sky TV and BT Sport are also putting pressure on Laura's outgoings. But she says those are needed to attract sporting fans in.

Laura says opening times may have to be reduced but she doesn't want to turn punters away. Credit: Laura Banyard

'I can't expect my customers to eat and drink in the dark'

Laura says rising bills is having an impact on some customers' mental health.

She's calling on the UK Government to help with grants similar to those during Covid.

In response, the UK Government said no government can control the global factors pushing up the price of energy and other business costs.

It added the hospitality sector will be supported over the coming months. The support includes a 50% business rates relief for businesses, freezing alcohol duty rates on beer, cider, wine and spirits and reducing employer national insurance.