Action needed as 2021 saw 290 pubs demolished or converted

By Amelie Maurice-Jones contact

- Last updated on GMT

To the rescue: CAMRA call for Gov support after hundreds of pubs shut down in 2021 (Getty/ whitemay)
To the rescue: CAMRA call for Gov support after hundreds of pubs shut down in 2021 (Getty/ whitemay)

Related tags: Property, Camra

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has called for Government intervention after its research showed an average of just over 5 pubs a week (290 in total) were demolished or converted to another use in 2021.

The statistics did show an increase in new pubs being built, or existing building being converted into pubs, averaging at just over seven pubs opening per week in the second half of the year.

However, more than 500 pubs were also classed as a ‘long-term closure’ in 2021, where the building is still classed as a pub for planning purposes, but the business itself has closed or is empty without tenants to run it.

CAMRA chairman Nik Antona said while the figures showed some encouraging news about pub openings in 2021, there was still a “big problem” with pubs not reopening after the pandemic.

“With the cost of living crisis affecting consumers, and the cost of business crisis facing our pubs, brewers and cider makers, we are really concerned that this positive news from our 2021 figures will turn into a nightmare report for 2022,” he said.

List of requests

CAMRA has outlined a series of measures Government should take to help save the British pub. These include an immediate cut in VAT for on-trade food and drink sales, as well as confirming the retention of the duty exemption for small cider makers making under 70HL of product a year.

Furthermore, they have called on Government to introduce an Online Sales Tax, with the funds raised directed to relive the rates burden on the sector, and to bring forward the introduction of the new draught duty rate for beer and cider, confirming it will apply to containers of 20L and over.

They have also asked Government to use the upcoming Statutory Pubs Code Review to bring more tied tenants into the scope of the Pubs Code for England and Wales, making sure a robust Scottish Pubs Code is introduced later this year to offer protections for tied tenants in Scotland for the first time.

“Pubs are not only vital employers, but they are key to community life up and down the country – bringing people together and tackling loneliness and social isolation,” said Antona.

Help from Government

He added. “Government across the UK must do more to make sure pub businesses can survive the cost of business crisis, and consumers can still support their local pubs at a time when household budgets are being squeezed.”

CAMRA has pledged to support pubs through the Summer of Pub campaign, which rallies people to support their locals. However, said Antona, the campaign also needed action from political leaders.

He said: “The UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments must take action to safeguard the future of the Great British pub so they can continue to play their part at the heart of community life in the years to come. 

“That’s why CAMRA is calling for a cut in VAT for food and drink served in pubs and the introduction of fairer business rates systems that desperately need designing so that pubs are taxed fairly - together with an online sales tax in order that online businesses pay their fair share too.” 

Related topics: Rebuilding the Pub Sector

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