IPPR: 'policymakers must recognise pubs’ social value'

By Adam Pescod

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Community pubs Sociology

Beneficial: pubs’ social and environmental return is particularly relevant in villages which have lost services
Beneficial: pubs’ social and environmental return is particularly relevant in villages which have lost services
The social value of pubs is often overlooked by policymakers because official statistics only capture their financial benefits, according to the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR).

In an updated version​ of its 2009 report, Pubs and places: the social value of community pubs, the IPPR has urged the Government to consider 50% business-rate relief for pubs serving as “centres of their community”.

It also unveiled figures showing pub closures in the UK at 16 per week — up from 14 in the first half of 2011.

To identify the social benefits of pubs, the IPPR has drawn on new methodology, called ‘social return on investment’, developed to capture the value of a non-financial activity or business.

Rick Muir, associate director for public service reform for the IPPR, co-wrote the report. He said: “I’m confident most community pubs would have a positive social value equal to or higher than £100k.”

Pub is the Hub chair John Longden said: “Social return is particularly relevant to community pubs in villages where lots of services have been lost. Pubs are the last remaining social institution and bring a sense of well-being and community return.

“There is also an environmental return about villagers not wanting to travel miles to access essential services, and the economic return for suppliers.”

Jonathan Mail, CAMRA’s head of policy and public affairs, said: “The IPPR report highlights that the value of a pub to the community can be £120,000 per year.

“It isn’t something someone instinctively knows, but I think it is important to bring that point home.”

Five pubs under IPPR microscope

The IPPR used five pubs from different parts of the UK as case studies in its updated report and calculated the total social impact of each by assessing the outcome and value of its activities.

The five were the Land of Liberty, Peace & Plenty, Rickmansworth, Herts; Old Spot Inn, Dursley, Glos; Ye Old Sun Inn, Colton, N.Yorks; Swan Inn, Conwy, n. Wales; and the White Horse, Bedford.

The pubs’ total social impact was £290,252.

The report is available here​.

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