The number of pubs in England and Wales has fallen to a record low. Real estate advisers Altus Group carried out research which suggests that lockdowns and rising business costs are to blame.
The total number of pubs fell below 40,000 in the first half of 2022. That’s 7,000 less than there were 10 years ago.
According to The Guardian:
Pubs that have disappeared from communities have been demolished or converted into other buildings such as homes and offices, the research from the real estate advisers Altus Group says.
The hospitality sector has faced immense challenges in recent years as it recovered from the pandemic, which resulted in national lockdowns that caused closures and reduced demand.
However, the researchers suggest that while pubs managed to battle through Covid-19, they are facing a fresh challenge because of record-high inflation and an energy crisis.
“While pubs proved remarkably resilient during the pandemic, they’re now facing new headwinds grappling with the cost of doing business crisis through soaring energy costs, inflationary pressures and tax rises,” Robert Hayton, Altus Group’s UK president, said.
Two hundred pubs vanished from English and Welsh communities from the end of 2021 up to the end of June.
The biggest drop was in the West Midlands – 28 in only half a year – followed by London and the east of England, which both lost 24.
Pubs in the overall count are those that must pay business rates, including those vacant and being offered to let.
According to research from the British Beer and Pub Association, the British Institute of Innkeeping, and UK Hospitality, only 37% of hospitality businesses are turning a profit.
The rising cost of energy, goods and labour were identified as the biggest factors behind falling profits.
The hospitality industry has called on the government to provide more support.
Emma McClarkin, the chief executive of the BBPA, said: “When pubs are forced to close it’s a huge loss to the local community, and these numbers paint a devastating picture of how pubs are being lost in villages, towns and cities across the country.
“As a sector we have just weathered the hardest two years on memory, and we now face the challenge of extreme rising costs, with only one in three hospitality businesses currently profitable.
“It’s essential that we receive relief to ease these pressures or we really do risk losing more pubs year on year.”
I read a piece in one of the broadsheets recently, The Telegraph I think, that said working in a pub is a rite of passage for young people. Amen to that. At 15, I collected glasses in a city centre pub. Aged 18, I was behind the bar and also behind the decks in the deejay box.
I learned my social manners in a pub. I made lifelong friends. I learned the value of hard work, the independence of owning my own money and buying what I wanted to buy without having to ask for help.
If I needed information of any kind, I got it in my local pub. Does anyone know a good plumber? A mechanic? The pub was the focal point of the community. It sponsored the local GAA and soccer teams. It hosted our 21st birthday parties.
Can you imagine seeing a good play or film and not filing into the pub afterwards to chat about what you’d just seen?
I’d normally bang on about this being part of the Orwellian Great Reset Agenda, but I’ll spare you.