A FAMILY-run Cowdenbeath pub is being forced to close due to a shocking seven-fold rise in their electricity bill to £43,500 a year.

June Ross, who owns the Dunvegan Bar on Broad Street, said she can't afford to stay open after receiving the contract plan renewal from British Gas.

The pub is still open and will keep trading into the New Year but is set to close in 2023 with a deal agreed for the building to be turned into flats.

She explained: "It's purely down to the electricity. We paid £6,500 last year and it's going up to £43,500.

"I work seven days a week and I'd be working just to pay the electricity?

"There's no point. It's absolutely gutting."

She continued: "If I don't sign a new contract and go on to their variable rate it's £55,500.

"We've not got the footfall to cope with an increase like that and we can't just put the prices up to £7 a pint, as they do in Edinburgh, as no-one would pay that."

The current electricity contract runs out on January 9 and June said: "We're hoping to have a good December as we've got a lot of Christmas dinners booked throughout the month.

"We have not sold the building as yet and are hoping to keep trading in January to see how viable the business will be, to keep going for as long as we can until the energy crisis forces us to close.

"All my customers are devastated but they understand it once I've explained it to them.

"It's horrible. We're like a family here, everyone looks after everyone.

"I feel terrible taking the pub away from them but it's too far down the line, there's nothing I can do."

She continued: "Someone needs to do something as it's not just us.

"The licensing board reckon a third of hospitality businesses will close next year and that's a huge job loss.

"The bizarre thing is there was help during the pandemic but now there's nothing and nobody seems to care.

"They've left us high and dry.

"We're getting hammered with everything, all the prices and costs are rising and our customers have less money in their pockets."

An application for a change of use, to turn the premises into two flats, has already been agreed by Fife Council.

A planning statement on behalf of the applicant, George Duncan from Ducalais Developments in Glasgow, said the pub was first put up for sale in February 2018, when the business was viable, as it was "taking a toll on the owner's health and wellbeing".

Further attempts to sell it came to nothing and the statement said a change of use was justified as the business was no longer viable "as a result of rising overhead costs".

June explained: "We've had it for 12 years. I own the pub with my husband Ewan, who is the chef.

"It's my job, livelihood and house, all in one fell swoop.

"I've got somebody interested in buying it so I'll need to go and get a house now.

"We've got to take the chance to get out while we can as it's only going to get worse.

"I'm lucky we're in the position that someone wants to buy it, what are the other pubs going to do?

"I'd like to say sorry to all our customers. It's been their pub for the last 40 years, many had their first drink here and I'd like to thank them for giving us such great support.

"Even during the pandemic, when they had to sit outside in the pub garden in the freezing cold, they did so much for us."

Cowdenbeath MSP Annabelle Ewing said: “I really feel for June Ross and all those trying to run a business at this time of escalating costs.

"The Westminster overnment really needs to do much more than it has done so far to help businesses deal with the soaring costs that we are all facing and, particularly, to bring energy costs under control.”