18 pubs closing weekly due to tax burden

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Triple whammy: three different types of taxes are hitting the pub sector (image credit: Flickr Adam Bruderer)
Triple whammy: three different types of taxes are hitting the pub sector (image credit: Flickr Adam Bruderer)
Some 18 pubs a week are closing due to a triple whammy of high beer duty, rising business rates and VAT, according to new figures just released.

The data, which claimed that one third of the cost of a pub pint is now made up of various taxes, was revealed by consumer organisation the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA), which is calling on the Government to take urgent action to cut the tax burden on pubs.

The group said that while temporary business rates relief and a beer duty freeze have been welcome, the Government needs to implement a review of the tax system.

It added that Britain’s departure from the European Union provides new opportunities to support pubs, such as the potential for lower rates of tax for draught beer sold in pubs.

Crippling tax burden

CAMRA’s pub closures survey:

  • The report covered pubs throughout the UK, which are known to have closed between 1 July and 31 December 2017, with comparative data from the previous 12 months.
  • It details pub closures and does not include new openings.
  • The data has been compiled by CAMRA’s WhatPub​ online pub guide, which covers about 47,500 UK pubs.
  • This is estimated to represent more than 95% of all currently open pubs.
  • Information is collated by several thousand CAMRA members, who provide updates on pubs to the 220 CAMRA branches, maintaining the WhatPub ​database and report to branches on pubs closing and opening.
  • Branches then monitor these pub closures and record the key details including when and why.

The survey found, during the period from July to December 2017, that the south-east saw the largest number of pubs close with 62.

It also found that the second half of 2017 saw fewer pub closures than the first six months of the year, when 20 pubs a week closed, on average.

CAMRA national chairman Colin Valentine said: “Pubs are now facing a crippling tax burden, exacerbated by the perfect storm of the last business rates revaluation and a high level of beer duty.

“From these new pub closure figures, it is clear that a fundamental change is needed if the British pub is to survive for future generations.”

Securing the future

Pub closures by region:

South-east – 62

North-west – 59

Yorkshire and the Humber - 57

Greater London – 52

East of England – 47

South-west – 47

East Midlands – 38

West Midlands – 35

North-east – 16

He added: “As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, the Government has a unique opportunity to update the tax system to better support pubs, which are a bastion of British culture and are at the heart of communities across the country.

“We can now look further afield for a new tax deal for the sector. This could include implementing the Australian model of having a lower rate of duty for beer sold in pubs, radically changing the business rates system, or charging a lower rate of VAT for pubs, or even better, all three.

“Millions of dedicated pubgoers are looking to the Government to act now to secure the future of the great British pub. We are now challenging the Government to be the most pro-pub in history by seizing this opportunity.”

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