1.6% more high street pubs since Covid

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

New openings: Uptick in high street pubs since pandemic but fall in nightclubs (Getty/ benedeck)
New openings: Uptick in high street pubs since pandemic but fall in nightclubs (Getty/ benedeck)

Related tags Health and safety Social responsibility Property

There are 1.6% more high street pubs and bars since the first Covid lockdown, but the number of nightclubs has plummeted, new research has revealed.

The data, which tracked the percentage change in the number of establishments between March 2020 and March 2022, was conducted by the Ordnance Survey and the BBC.​ 

The Ordnance Survey data found 700 more pubs and bars were operating after the pandemic.  

However, there were almost 150 fewer nightclubs post-pandemic - a fall of one in 10 (9.4%). 

Scotland saw the largest growth in eating and drinking outlets, with a rise of 6%. In north-west and north-east England, the increase was around 5%. The south-west of England and Wales saw the lowest increases in eating and drinking businesses. 

The research was extracted from the Points of Interest dataset, and the Ordinance Survey Retail Geographies dataset. This clustered retail areas using high street names.   

The bigger picture

Despite this, other sets of data tell a different story.​ The Pub Closure Report January to June 2022 ​​from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) showed in the second half of 2021, 254 pubs were recorded as ‘long term closed’, at a rate of 9.8 a week. 

In January to June 2022, this had risen to 485 – almost twice the weekly rate of the previous half (18.7), according to the report. 

What’s more, nearly three quarters​ of pubs reported they were unlikely to survive the winter unless action was taken to solve the energy crisis.  

More than 65% said they’d seen their utility costs increase by more than 100%, meanwhile 30% reported a jump of 200% and 8% reported increases of more than 500%. Nearly 80% of operators said they could not afford the increase in energy costs. 

Cry for help

Desperate operators are calling for a range of measures to help them survive​ the crisis, from reductions in VAT and business rates through to a cap on energy prices for business. 

Responding to the survey, one operator said: “Proper support and intervention is needed by [the] Government. Even a 20% increase will be unaffordable, never mind 200%.” 

Another added: “Action needs to be taken now to protect businesses. It was hard enough making it through Covid times, this is now absolutely ridiculous.”  

Related topics Rebuilding the Pub Sector

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