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One in ten pubs at risk of closure


One in ten pubs are at risk of closing in the New Year if Jeremy Hunt fails to expand business rates relief in his Autumn statement, industry leaders have warned.


The woeful prediction comes as Britain's hospitality industry continues to struggle, with the rate of closures across the country meaning there are fewer than 100,000 pubs operating in the UK.

A survey carried out by UK Hospitality showed that one in 10 respondents would cease operations and close if the business relief rates were not extended, with six in 10 claiming it would result in higher prices and reduced staff levels.

Tom Stainer, chief executive of CAMRA, warned that if the Government needs to 'act soon or we risk the further closure of beloved locals'.

He said: 'This is make-or-break time for the industry, as not only is government help with business rates being cut, but pubs and the local breweries and cider producers who serve them are being hit by the perfect storm of rising costs of goods, spiralling energy bills and employing staff, while customers continue to tighten their belts due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.'

The group is calling for the Government to continue the business rate relief scheme, reduce draught beer and cider duty and scrap 'unnecessary rules that are preventing draught takeaway sales from draught duty-paid containers'.

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association added: 'Current closure rates in our sector paint a stark picture for the future of Britain's historic pubs.

'With closure rates having doubled in the first half of this year, and a raft of cost increases coming in the next six months, thousands of pubs across the country will be worried that they'll have to call last orders for the final time before the end of 2024.'

'We need intelligent intervention from Government to extend business rate relief and cancel the planned second beer duty increase in six months next April, to allow our sector to recover from three and a half years of unprecedented trading conditions and stop the rapid decline in the number of pubs in this country.'

Last month it was revealed that the number of bars and pubs across the UK had dropped below 100,000 for the first time on record because punters were put off by the price.

More than 44,000 licensed premises have closed in the last 20 years, leaving just 99,916 still trading at the end of September this year.

The research by consultancy CGA/NIQ showed it was the lowest number since records began in 2003, as the pandemic and high costs accelerated closures.

Pub goers have continued to be hammered by rising costs when they go out - with a pint costing more than 74p than it did last year.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed the average pint of lager cost £4.62 in September, up from £3.88 in the same month last year.

In the last 20 years, the largest losses have been at drink-led pubs, bars and nightclubs, with figures growing in venues that focus on food - such as gastropubs.

A different survey showing by the insurance firm Altus Group also reveraled a bleak picture of Britain's pub landscapes. It showed that there were 383 closures of pubs in the first half of 2023.