The UK's largest pub group will now charge customers at hundreds of its locations around 20p more for a pint of beer during busy periods under a “dynamic pricing” system.

Stonegate Group, which owns chains including Slug & Lettuce and Yates, has announced that it is to raise prices at 800 of its venues during peak times, including evenings and weekends.

While it has previously done so for one-off events, such as World Cups, the group has now decided to introduce price variance on a more regular basis in a move that has been met with a widespread social media backlash.

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Patrons are said to have been informed of the change with a “polite notice” in Stonegate pubs, claiming that the reason for the increase is to cover extra staffing costs, more bouncers at the door, extra cleaning, washing glasses, and “complying with licensing requirements”.

A spokesperson for Stonegate said: “Stonegate Group, like all retail businesses, regularly review pricing to manage costs but also to ensure we offer great value for money to our guests.

“Across the managed business, our dynamic pricing encompasses the ability to offer guests a range of promotions including happy hours, two-for-one cocktails, and discounts on food and drink products at different times on different days throughout the week.

“This flexibility may mean that on occasions pricing may marginally increase in selective pubs and bars due to the increased cost demands on the business with additional staffing or licensing requirements such as additional door team members.”

Amongst those who have spoken out online following the announcement is Glasgow nightclub owner Donald MacLeod who said: “Somehow I don’t think they’ll be having any more busy periods.”

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Originally formed in 2013 with just 333 pubs, Stonegate Group's portfolio now includes over 4500 sites which range from leased and tenanted to managed.

Find a full list of Stonegate Group pubs here.