Pub landlord Andrew Saunders has predicted two years of hard times for the pub industry.

Speaking to the Examiner, Mr Saunders, who is also the chair of the Licensed Victuallers Association (LVA), has identified a ‘triple-threat’ to his industry.

They were the scaling costs, the lack of staff and customers’ concern over their own finances.

Staffing was seen as a big concern for pubs, according to Mr Saunders.

‘There is a lack of people available for staffing that was often filled up with immigration to the island from all around the EU,’ he said.

‘I do foresee people beginning to look at making secondary income streams and that can certainly help the hospitality industry.’

Secondary income streams are currently taxed at 20% as opposed to the 10% income tax on primary incomes.

Mr Saunders said: ‘People get put off taking on secondary jobs because if the standard tax-rate bands.

‘It’s very off-putting when you get a wage packet from a secondary job and 20% plus national insurance disappears straight away.’

He also said: ‘There are other ways that the Manx government can help the whole community.

‘I would certainly suggest, and this would help with staffing, if they looked at raising up tax allowances.’

The current standard pretax allowance for a single person in the island is £6,500 with the standard rate for a couple being £13,000.

He added: ‘We have been speaking to the government to raise personal tax allowance to much higher than it is at the moment.

‘This makes it more valid for people to go out and get a bit of extra work.’

He also suggested: ‘Getting second tax allowance for people taking on second jobs that would allow people to earn more money before they have to pay tax.’

Mr Saunders also voiced his fears of the rising fuel costs.

‘Gas is the main supplier for most big industries, the trucking facilities are run on gas,’ he said.

‘That’s where we really need help at the moment.’

Mr Saunders also highlighted a further issue for pubs, saying: ‘These energy bill issues are going to hit us hard, it’s going to be less viable for pubs to be open on a seven-day-a-week basis.

‘That’s why you seeing certain restaurants and bars only opening when there are higher trade levels.’

This comes after the Barbary Coast pub and grill said in a statement: ‘Due to current circumstances, which we are all concerned about, we will be closing for lunchtimes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays.

‘Closing these quieter lunchtime/afternoon periods are the most cost effective way for the business to continue with effective sustainability.’

Mr Saunders said: ‘It’s not good for the island to have hospitality dead spots during the week.

‘If we are trying to attract people to the island we have to have a lively nightlife throughout the week.

‘This whole cost of living crisis is a real threat to that as a whole.’

lExaminer comment, page 18.