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7,000 pubs forced to close in last 10 years

Published:  04 July, 2022

According to real estate consultancy Altus Group, the number of pubs in England and Wales is now at its lowest point on record, down by more than 7,000 in the last decade.

Despite the upheaval of the pandemic, the downward trend started well before the virus, with younger people drinking less, supermarkets slashing prices and businesses being heavily taxed.

UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said: “These figures are truly shocking but will come as no surprise to many in the industry. The overwhelming burden of taxation – particularly business rates – and red tape will have proved too much for many licensees. 

“The pandemic intensified the distress many business owners were facing, and in many cases, business support was not enough to keep them afloat. While these are pub closures, there have been similar – sometimes worse – levels of closure across restaurants, nightclubs and broader hospitality.”

According to Atlus, 400 pubs in England and Wales closed last year, with 200 more shutting up shop this year due to inflation.

The West Midlands had the highest number of closures with 28 since the start of 2022, followed by London and the East of England, which both lost 24.

Nicholls added: “The current economic crisis increases the chances of further decline, with soaring costs in energy, food and drink, a higher VAT rate, falling consumer confidence and an acute labour shortage. This could be too much for businesses struggling to repay Covid-related debt.

“We need the government to take urgent steps to remove barriers to growth, help tackle the cost crisis we’re facing and support more people into work and training. Without this help, we could see thousands more pubs lost from their communities in the next few years.”