Results of PMA survey show publicans worried about health, wealth and family life

By Mike Berry

- Last updated on GMT

The results of our survey make gloomy reading for the pub trade
The results of our survey make gloomy reading for the pub trade

Related tags: The current, Stress, Anxiety, Pma

Significant numbers of publicans are struggling under the weight of worries about money, housing, family life and their health.

A new Publican’s Morning Advertiser reader survey on wellbeing paints a picture of pub life taking its toll on licensees with many saying they are suffering from stress, depression and general dissatisfaction with their current circumstances.

Last month research from the Office for National Statistics put publicans at the bottom of a happiness league table across professions, reporting the lowest job satisfaction of 274 occupations surveyed.

The PMA’s survey found more than half of licensees (55%) claim to have suffered from or been diagnosed with stress, with 42% saying they have struggled with depression. One in nine also admitted to alcohol dependency either currently or at some point in their working life. A quarter say illness is limiting their ability to work, and just one in 10 describe the current state of their health as good.

Financial worries

Turning to money, the majority describe their personal financial status as “just about OK”, but almost one third say they are “struggling to make ends meet” with about one in six stating “I have debt problems”.

A quarter (24%) admit to currently claiming Government benefits, with working tax credits and child tax credits the most popular. Overall, almost half (48%) say they are either worried or very worried about money.

In terms of their housing situation, the majority of respondents say they live on site at their pub. Of those, many report difficulty making rent payments, disputes over repairs and/or improvements and unsuitable living accommodation.

The strains of running a pub are also having a detrimental impact on family life for many; half say they have experienced relationship problems and/or feelings of loneliness or isolation.


Overall - taking all areas into consideration - only one third of licensees say they are satisfied with their current wellbeing, with just 5% rating it as good.

When examined by tenure, respondents that identified themselves as tenants or lessees are more dissatisfied than their freeholder or managed house counterparts. A greater number say they are struggling to make ends meet, are more worried about money and their housing situation, and say they are stressed. Tenants and lessees also rate their overall wellbeing as lower than other licensee groups.

In terms of where licensees turn to seek help and support, almost three quarters (72%) go to family and friends first, with just 12% contacting their pub company. Awareness of the Licensed Trade Charity (LTC) – the trade’s occupational charity - was low, with fewer than one third having heard of it. The overwhelming majority have never called its helpline or visited the LTC’s Support & Care website.

Liz Gaffer, the LTC’s director of marketing and charitable services, said it was clear many struggling licensees still weren’t aware of the support available to them. “We’re working with many organisations within the trade to promote our free helpline and resource-based website, and it’s up to us to provide practical guidance and advice that makes a real difference in their lives.”

The online poll was completed by a self-selecting sample of 250 licensees and is the first in a series of lifestyle surveys that the PMA is conducting among its readership.

Some of the questions we posed:

On a scale of 1-5, how worried are you about money?​ (1 being very worried, 5 being not at all worried)
1 24.2%
2 23.4%
3 29.0%
4 17.3%
5 6.1%
On a scale of 1-5, how worried are you about your current state of health?​ (1 being poor, 5 being good)
1 7.0%
2 20.1%
3 38.2%
4 24.1%
5 10.6%
Overall, how would you rate your current wellbeing?​ (1 being poor, 5 being good)
1 11.9%
2 30.6%
3 31.3%
4 21.3%
5 4.9%

Related topics: Health & safety

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