A SURVEY that approached Cumbrian tourism businesses revealed that 95 per cent of these businesses are worried about energy costs.

The 'tourism business performance survey' by Cumbria Tourism and accountancy firm Lamont Pridmore also stated that 88 per cent of businesses are concerned about 'increased costs in general,' four in five (82 per cent) are concerned about the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and over two thirds (74 per cent) worry about passing on cost increases to customers. 

69 per cent surveyed said that they were concerned about inflation. This may be higher with yesterday's (15 November) news that inflation hit a 41-year high of 11.1 per cent last month. 

October's rate of Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation was worse than expected, with most economists predicting a rise to 10.7 per cent. 

Chris Moss, a director of Westmorland Hospitality which runs The Fleece, The Duke of Cumberland and The Gateway Inn said: "At The Gateway last Friday we had no rooms booked, I think people are worried about going out. 

"This year it is very very tight with our costs going up we are heading towards a perfect storm. 

"The traditional British pub is key to our communities. We are in danger of losing that British institution." 

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He said that it cost £30,000 to fund The Gateway's energy bill. In the last year, oil went up from £15 to £50 and butter went from £45 a box to £86. While all his pubs and hotels are booked for Mountain Festival, this is still a slow year.

Mr Moss pinned the blame on VAT, business rates, Brexit, and there only being a cap on bills for domestic use, which he called 'antiquated.' 

Gill Haigh, managing director of Cumbria Tourism said: "As an industry, tourism and hospitality has a disproportionately higher energy use than other sectors and the knock-on impact of this needs to be fully recognised. Cumbria's tourism businesses are already feeling the squeeze, but really are unable to pass the prices directly onto its customers who are themselves already facing hardship.

"This coupled with the hardships of the last two years, the recruitment challenge, no business rate relief and VAT support, is proving extremely challenging for businesses."