A local business owner has taken to social media to vent his frustration at the withdrawal of support from the government.

In a post on Facebook, Sion Harris from Hereford Beer House said:

“After careful consideration, we’re disappointed to announce that – as of tomorrow (1st April) – we’ll be increasing the price of our draft beer by approximately 5-10%. 

“This isn’t a decision we’ve taken lightly, so we ask you to please read this post in full, to understand our reasons.

“In September 2022, in the face of spiralling energy prices, the UK Government announced the relatively generous Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS), which guaranteed a fixed unit price for electricity and gas for businesses in the UK. 

“This kept our costs manageable over winter, and allowed us to survive what was a difficult festive period for the hospitality industry, without having to review our pricing structure. (Any modest increases were due to increases in the trade price of beer.)

“The EBRS expires today (31st March), and is replaced tomorrow by the Energy Bill Discount Scheme (EBDS). 

“The new scheme reduces the amount of financial support we receive from the government by 94.6%, resulting in an overnight 167% increase in the price we pay per unit of electricity.

“In an industry which already operates on tight margins, this increase is sadly not one we can absorb. 

“We remain steadfast to our principles of paying our staff a living wage, and providing the highest levels of quality and customer service.

“This regrettably means that our standard price for a pint of lager or pale ale will go above £5 for the first time. Other prices will increase too, but this – for us – is the most significant. 

“Although the increase itself is modest, we kept our ‘pint price’ below £5 for as long as we could, to ensure the premium products we serve are as accessible as possible.

“We hope this is the last announcement of this nature we have to make, but market conditions are volatile, and we remain at the mercy of repulsively greedy energy companies and an unhelpful libertarian government.

“We ask for your understanding during this period, and remain thankful for the loyal support we receive from our fantastic local community.

“Please support local independent businesses. We need you now more than ever.”