Shropshire Star

Star comment: It really is a case of use them or lose them


The hospitality industry is one of the hardest hit in our economy. Energy bill increases that are three-or-four fold, or more, have had a devastating impact. The cost of ingredients has spiralled, staff are harder to come by and customers are spending less money.

That adds up to closures at worst and severely reduced profits at best. All are struggling and the new year will bring more bankruptcies as businesses fail to make ends meet.

Outlets are continuing to suffer in the wake of the Covid pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis.

The boost provided by the World Cup, while no doubt welcome, is short-lived and, locally, doesn’t appear to have had the dramatic impact in fortunes that some headlines might lead you to believe.

The truth of the matter remains that our pubs and restaurants continue to face fierce headwinds and, sadly, that means some will not survive. Reversing this trend will be tough, as pubs and restaurants have to increase prices to combat rising costs.

Doing so at a time when wages are effectively falling and people are unable to switch on their central heating is a non-starter. Many venues are charging the same prices they were charging four years ago, even though that means they’re only just covering their costs. They know that if they put up prices they will drive trade away, which they cannot afford to do.

Those who can support their locals should do so. The phrase ‘use it or lose it’ has never been more apt and we should remember that local, independent businesses provide employment and wealth for our local economy that we must retain.


In today's paper we look back on winters past with extensive photographic reportage depicting the way things used to be.

The cold snap that we have just emerged from was a shock to the system. We haven’t experienced a sustained spell of cold weather for a couple of years and, with temperatures dipping well below freezing overnight, it has left many of us shivering, and wondering about the impact on our energy bills.

Looking back at years gone by, however, reminds us that we have escaped relatively lightly this time around, with no big accumulations of snow to disrupt us. Of course, there is plenty of time for that to change before we begin to feel the warmth of spring.

The pictures are a reminder that when the going gets tough, community spirit shines through. While much has changed, that community spirit endures today.