Thousands more pubs will close, says CAMRA

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Closures: CAMRA warns that thousands of pubs are set to shut down
Closures: CAMRA warns that thousands of pubs are set to shut down

Related tags: Business rates, Public house

The massive hike in business rates, resulting in raised prices of pints, will make many customers unable to afford to go to their local, according to The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

CAMRA is to warn the Government that without urgent action, thousands of community pubs could be wiped off the map​.

In its Budget submission, which it will present to Chancellor Philip Hammond, ahead of November’s Budget, it will continue to call for a permanent £5,000 business rate relief for all pubs in England as well as a freeze, or reduction in, beer duty for the rest of this parliament.

CAMRA research has found that, in some cases, English pubs would need to sell more than 20,000 extra pints of beer every year to cover the rises in their business rates. The organisation claims this would lead many landlords to either put up their prices to make up the cost or close their doors forever.

CAMRA claims that the tradition of going to the pub is becoming an unaffordable luxury for the majority of Brits.

Tricky situation

The consumer group said its own survey, conducted by YouGov, showed that just 15% of 1,000 UK beer drinkers now think that the price of a pint in the UK is either very or fairly affordable.

It also revealed that, on average, each pub pays almost £140,000 in taxes each year; about 37% of the total cost of a pint is now made up of taxes while the UK pays nearly 40% of all beer duty in the EU but only consumes around 12% of the beer.

“Many landlords are in a tricky situation in that they are forced to either raise their prices or close their doors forever. It is the people on lower incomes will be hit the hardest, and will then choose to drink at home. In addition, thousands of local pubs are at risk of closure, bringing devastating consequences for their local communities,” said Colin Valentine CAMRA’s national chairman.

“The Chancellor must take urgent action in this Budget if we are to keep pubgoing a social activity open to all and prevent local pubs from being wiped off the map.”

Christo Tofalli landlord of Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, St Albans, Hertfordshire, said: "We are relaunching our campaign to scrap the unfair tax burden on pubs and are therefore calling for an urgent fundamental review into the business rates system with an immediate freeze on rates until the review is finished. We cannot wait five years.

"To put it simply, pubs are at the point of no return. Our pub's massive 47% increase in business rates is nothing in comparisons to our neighbouring pub, the Boot in St Albans, which has seen it's rates increase of 286%.” 

Related topics: Legislation

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