Pub crisis: Five close every day

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pubs Public house Great depression Government Bbpa

36 pubs are closing every week
36 pubs are closing every week
Pubs are now closing at the rate of five a day — up 33% on last year as the credit crunch and Government enforced duty rises and red tape take a...

Pubs are now closing at the rate of five a day — up 33% on last year as the credit crunch and Government enforced duty rises and red tape take a monumental toll on the industry.

The shocking figures, produced for the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) by consultants CGA, reveal that 36 pubs a week are now closing. Last year's figures showed 27 a week were closing — a total of 1,409 closed during the year.

Pubs are now closing nine times faster than in 2006 and 18 times faster than in 2005.

The rapid increase in closures highlights just what damage will be done if the Chancellor pushes ahead with planned duty increases of 2% above inflation for the next four years in a sop to the health lobby.

The BBPA is urging all pubs to ring their bells at 1pm next Monday as a symbolic wake-up call to Westminster.

"These numbers are a stark illustration of the pressures on the pub sector," said BBPA chief executive Rob Hayward. "Economic stresses and strains are being felt by every household across the country and acutely by Britain's public houses.

"Sliding consumer confidence and spiralling inflation are hitting pubs in two ways. Not only are the costs of running a pub increasing, but fewer people through the door means less cash in the tills.

"Despite this, the Government seems intent on increasing the burden on pubs. Its current proposals to target pubs with a raft of new red tape such as statutory codes of conduct and ratchet up taxes with its beer duty escalator will only make matters worse.

"Such policies will only drive up costs for pubs and prices for punters. Government needs to wake up to what's happening in the real world of the pub."

Beer sales

On-trade beer sales are now at their lowest level since the Great Depression of the 1930s and industry experts have predicted the off-trade will be the biggest retailer of beer within 12 months as supermarkets continue to heavily discount alcohol.

Hayward added: "Thousands of much loved community pubs are under threat. They are at the heart of every community and a major tourist draw for Britain. Without a change of heart from the Government, many more are facing closure.

"With so many pubs in peril, the Government's threat of further stealth taxes on beer cannot go unanswered. And with food and fuel prices rocketing, this is a terrible time to be hitting pubgoers with more taxes.

The BBPA will also be undertaking an economic analysis of the state of the sector to provide further proof for the Government.

Campaign for Real Ale chief executive Mike Benner added: "It is clear that the Government must take urgent action to save pubs from closure. Pubs are essential local services and the Government has a moral duty to protect them. It should start by announcing immediately that it will reverse its decision to increase beer duty in the next four budgets and that a review of alcohol taxes will be undertaken without delay."

• The MA is urging all licensees and their customers to get involved in the campaign to Fight the Hikes. To join the campaign click here​.

How would you put bring a halt to the rising tide of pub closures? Let us know by hitting Post a comment below.

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