Beds & Bars, the hostel and bar operator, is focusing its expansion ambitions on mainland Europe as it finds its UK business increasingly hamstrung by UK taxation and red tape, the company has warned.

Keith Knowles, chief executive and founder, told MCA the business was scheduled to open a second Edinburgh Belushi’s bar this autumn but it had nothing else in the UK pipeline.

Mainland Europe was an easier canvas for expansion, he said, adding: “We are investing our money where it’s easier to invest and we get a better return.”

“In the UK if the right opportunities come along I can’t say we wouldn’t do it but we are not proactively looking at the moment. We are looking in Vienna, Lisburn, in all the locations we currently have sites in Europe.”

Knowles pointed to the UK’s Late Night Levy, the National Minimum Wage, business rates, the increasing tax the company paid the more successful it was and business rates.

The Flying Horse in Finsbury had seen business rates increase 404% and Belushi’s in Newquay a 134% increase following the latest revaluation.

“On top of that you’ve got the pensions increase and the apprenticeship levy. We’ve seen as a direct impact of the Conservative government on hospitality a 47% increase in what they have taken from us in the past 12 months.

Turnover had increased 8% in the financial year to the end of March but in Europe this had gone up “substantially more” and the company had retained more of its profit there, Knowles said.

“The NMW isn’t an issue in other countries we trade in. We’ve done brilliantly in Europe but in the UK it’s tough headwinds. You see turnover going up way above inflation yet our profits are under pressure because of governmental charges and taxes…We know what the cowboys fell like with the Indians running around them.”

The group has 17 St Christopher’s Inns Hostels , including seven in London, Barcelona, Amsterdam, two in Paris, Edinburgh, Bath, Newquay, two in Berlin and Bruges.

It has two Flying Pig Hostels in Amsterdam, 13 Belushi’s sports and party bars, including five in London, Barcelona, Amsterdam, two in Paris, Edinburgh, Bath, Newquay and Berlin.

Beds & Bars also has five traditional pubs in the UK and Europe: Hercules Pillars in Holborn, St Christopher’s Pub in London Bridge, The Flying Horse in Liverpool Street, Jake’s Place in Edinburgh and Bauhaus in Bruges.