On the 8th September, the UK Government announced further measures to tackle the impending energy crisis that will impact the country this winter. In particular, the energy price cap, which is to be frozen for two years, with the typical household bill will be £2,500.00 a year as a result.
Whilst this is welcome news to many UK households, it is little comfort to many of our colleagues in the drinks hospitality industry, who will be amongst the predicted 6 million homes in fuel poverty this winter, having seen their energy bills increase by 96% since winter 2021.
With 3.2 million workers in the UK hospitality industry, The Drinks Trust estimates that approximately 192,000 industry workers will be using the prepaid meter payment method, the use of which is directly correlated to fuel poverty. In some circumstances, fuel suppliers have the right to shut off gas and electricity altogether, leaving entire families facing cold winter days in damp and freezing houses. Families like your colleagues and friends. Our drinks industry community.
Over the winter of 2021/2022, The Drinks Trust received significantly increased levels of demand for hardship grants, and the average value of grants awarded to colleagues in need increased by over 50%. In 2022 to date, the cost of living has increased exponentially, and with the pending energy cap increase in October, we now face an unprecedented hardship crisis amongst those in entry-level roles in our industry.
This winter, The Drinks Trust will launch a dedicated grant-giving campaign, the Emergency Energy Poverty Fund, that will run from October 2022 until the exhaustion of funds. The Drinks Trust aims to deliver up to £350 to eligible individuals in our industry facing fuel poverty. This grant will help the most vulnerable industry workers to heat and power their homes for up to 12 weeks.
With the aim of raising £350,000, The Drinks Trust is asking the industry’s businesses, brands and agencies to rally behind the campaign and show their support by pledging a donation towards the fund.
Ross Carter, The Drinks Trust Chief Executive, said:
“This winter, tens of thousands of our in-work colleagues will have as little as £450 a month after energy bills, rent and council tax. We have taken data from existing 2022 beneficiaries and modelled their available income after these primary living costs, and the outlook for many is critical. Added to this is the increased cost of food, which will leave many of our colleagues in entry and lower paid roles with a decision nobody should have to face.
The term “heating or eating” isn’t simply a catchy soundbite; it’s a genuine reality in the coming months for those selling our products and brands. I would personally like to thank Decanter for their donation to this campaign, as well as a raft of brand owners and brands for their upcoming fundraising efforts, including Pernod Ricard through Redbreast, the Chapel Down team that will run the Royal Parks’ Half Marathon and our runners in the London Marathon. We would call on others to follow suit and make a commitment to this vital cause.”
With a phenomenal kick-off donation of £20,000 pledged at the Golden Pineapples in June, Decanter has already demonstrated its generosity in supporting the Fund.
Alex Layton, Head of Marketing at Decanter, commented:
“Decanter is incredibly proud, and delighted, to be supporting The Drinks Trust’s Energy Poverty Fund. The energy crisis that we are currently facing is painting a very bleak picture indeed for millions of people around the country. This fund will provide vital help to many people working in the drinks industry who are being affected, especially going into tough autumn and winter ahead. We know times are challenging but any donations will make such a tangible – and positive – difference to people’s lives.”
The Drinks Trust fundraising team is available to discuss how your business or organisation can play a role in delivering a safe and warm winter to the industry’s workforce, our workforce.