More than 150 pubs lost so far this year

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

No choice: number of pubs demolished or repurposed increases by 60% (Credit: Getty/AndyRoland)
No choice: number of pubs demolished or repurposed increases by 60% (Credit: Getty/AndyRoland)

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More than 150 pubs disappeared from English and Welsh communities during the first three months of 2023, new figures from real estate intelligence firm Altus Group have revealed.

The data showed the rate of pubs demolished or redeveloped for other purposes increased by almost 60% at the start of the year, attributed to rising energy bills.

British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA​) chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “Energy bills are decimating our sector with extortionate costs wiping out profits and closing pubs at a faster rate than the pandemic.

“Pubs that were profitable and thriving before the energy crisis are being left with no option but to shut up shop.

Existential threat 

“We have been raising the alarm for months that energy costs are posing an existential threat to pubs across the country and these figures are evidence of that.”

Analysis of Government data by Altus showed the number of pubs in England and Wales​, including those vacant and being offered to let, had decreased by 153 to 39,634 by 31 March this year, compared with 39,787 at the end of 2022.

In addition, the figures revealed 51 pubs were lost each month during this period, up from 32 per month during the whole of 2022. 

Regionally, the East Midlands saw the most closures between December 2022 and March 2023, with 23 pubs lost, while the North-West saw the second highest number with 20 pubs shutting down.

London and the South-East jointly saw the third highest number with 19 sites having closed their doors.

Alternative investment 

Despite these figures, pubs have recently seen business rates​ tax fall by 17% which, in conjunction with the measures taken in last year’s Autumn Statement, could result in a tax saving ​of £5,500 for the average pub.

However, Altus president of property tax Alex Probyn said this “simply won’t compensate for the energy support being lost making plots even more attractive for alternative investment.”

This comes the BBPA recently warned the average pub could see energy bills rise by more than £18,000 ​a year following the end of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme this month.

McClarkin added: “It is essential that the Government intervenes to ensure energy suppliers are offering the option of renegotiation to pubs locked into unmanageably high energy contracts.

“Make no mistake, the longer this goes on the more pubs will be lost forever in communities across the country, something must be done immediately to save them.” 

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