Cost of living crisis: Edinburgh pub owner is 'terrified' going into winter as energy bills set to spike dramatically

A local business owner who runs several pubs in Edinburgh is ‘terrified’ about how the cost of living crisis will affect his livelihood.

Grant McNeil, 42, who has been running bars for 10 years, said his confidence in the future has never been lower.

He is the company director of Greenmantle Group, which owns The Mash Tun, The Auld Hoose, and The Greenmantle, as well as an events bar.

While his pubs thrived during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, he feels “terrified” going into the winter, as energy bills are set to spike dramatically.

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He said: "My concern is people’s lack of disposable income. Pubs are going to drop down people’s lists of priorities”.

Mr McNeil’s pubs have not yet fully recovered from Covid, and yet he fears that they are now going to be knocked back again. “We’re going back into survival mode”, he said.

To deal with the expected decline in business, he plans to slash the opening hours for his establishments. He also admitted that his pubs may have to run with less workers, and said: “If it’s quieter, it’s inevitable – we’ll have to cut down on staff”.

The owner of 'The Auld Hoose' and other Edinburgh pubs is 'terrified' as the cost of living crisis hits businesses across the country.

While his energy contracts aren’t due for renewal until next year, he expects to be paying significantly more than what he is now. "It’s going to be completely unsustainable for me”, he said.

“We’re already working to pretty tight margins.”

While Mr McNeil is feeling anxious about the future, he is hopeful that something will be done to help business owners.

"I think government intervention is inevitable,” he said. “But we need to shout about it now”.