315 pubs lost for good so far in 2020

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Property law Business rates London Manchester Liverpool Birmingham

More than 300 pubs have been permanently closed, set to be demolished or converted for other uses according to exclusive data for the 34 weeks and six days to 1 September 2020.

Figures from real estate adviser Altus Group found at the beginning of this month (September 2020), the overall number of pubs in England and Wales, including those vacant and to let was 40,748. This is down 315 this year so far, with 87 of those closing during the past two months.

In 2019, 473 pubs were demolished and/or converted into other types of building

The one-year business rates holiday pubs in England and Wales are receiving is worth £768.12m, Altus Group stated.

The real estate advisor also outlined pubs were eligible for £557.94m worth of grant funding amid the coronavirus pandemic.

City breakdown

Head of business rate Robert Hayton said: “These interventions were crucial to help save our pubs but more targeted support will be needed.

“Localised lockdowns will have localised impacts so reviews of rateable value, through the Covid-19 group action we have launched is the ideal way to get more support to where it is most needed.”

While Altus Group figures show the number of pubs that have closed with no option to reopen, CGA also found 610 pubs have closed since lockdown (according to its Outlet Index). This includes pubs that have shut and the pub company is looking for a new tenant or lessee.

CGA and AlixPartner’s Market Recovery Monitor also showed slightly almost a quarter (23.7%) of licensed premises were still to reopen at the end of August, with London particularly slow to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

This is an increase from the end of July when 38.3% of licensed venues had yet to reopen but still indicated almost 27,000 remain shut.

Central London has 71.2% of sites open but this is lower than other cities such as Liverpool (81.5%), Manchester (79.9%) and Birmingham (79.6%).

January figures

The most recent figures from the Office of National Statistics were released in January 2020 and showed the number of small pub and bars in the UK had risen for the first time in more than 15 years.

It increased by 85 (a 0.4% rise) in 2019 and the overall number of pubs and bars in the UK also grew by 315 (0.8%) between 2018 and 2019 – the first rise in a decade.

At the time (January this year), senior statistician Hugh Stickland said: “While smaller pubs have been struggling to survive in recent years, bigger pubs have been growing in number.

“This growth has been driven by food rather than drink and we have seen a big rise in the number of people employed as pub kitchen and waiting staff.”

ONS numbers also showed pub and bars employed more people serving food and bar staff. In 2003, employees working behind the bar made up about four in 10 team members and those serving food (including chefs, waiting staff along with kitchen and catering staff) made up about a third of employees.

Since 2016, this has the opposite with those serving food outnumbering those working behind the bar.

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