Analysts predict Scottish closures if pub chain growth continues

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Related tags: Pub chains, Scotland

More than 250 pubs and clubs in Scotland will close in the next five years if the growth of superpubs and pub chains continues, according to industry...

More than 250 pubs and clubs in Scotland will close in the next five years if the growth of superpubs and pub chains continues, according to industry analysts.

They warn that pubs in rural areas of Scotland that have long been the stalwart of many communities are the most likely to close within the next few years.

The latest figures from the Scottish Executive show that the number of licences is beginning to decline after the recent "invasion" of English-based pub chains such as JD Wetherspoon.

Total on-licences for Scotland have been falling by about 50 a year since 1998, with a current total of 10,826 pubs, hotels and clubs across the country.

Twenty years ago there were 24 licensed premises in the square mile at the heart of Glasgow's city centre, now there are 240.

Paul Waterson, of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, long an outspoken opponent to the number of new licences granted in Glasgow, said that superpubs put local bars in danger.

He said: "They come into an area and pretty soon smaller businesses are suffering or closing. Massive pubs are also slashing the cost of alcohol with promotions and happy hours, which is a bad thing in Scotland with its history and culture of binge drinking."

Licensees in the rest of the UK have historically rejected such calls for a ban on new licences, saying it would restrict commercial freedom for pub operators.

Related topics: Legislation

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