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Mon 19 January 2009

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Pubs closing at rate of 39 per week

19 January, 2009

Figures revealed as Parliament prepares to debate new mandatory code

The number of pubs closing per week in Britain has accelerated to a staggering 39 per week.

The figures, compiled by CGA Strategy for the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), are released today when a new mandatory code of practice for the industry is set to be debated in Parliament.

Rob Hayward, chief executive of the BBPA, said the code would lead to even more closures.

He said: “With pubs closing at a record rate and job losses escalating, it is truly staggering that the government is proposing to hit the sector with a £300m bill for extra red tape this year alone.

“In fact, the government openly state they believe that their new regulations will lead to more pub closures and job losses.

“Pub closures are a clear demonstration of the extreme financial and economic pressures facing the sector.

“At this time of deepening recession and rising unemployment, the government should be actively looking at ways to support the community asset of the pub. They should not be introducing legislation that will condemn more pubs to closure and put more people out of work.”

The figure of 39 closures per week relates to the first six months of last year and is an increase of three per week from the previous figure of 36 given by the BBPA's research.

In total 1,973 pubs shut up shop in 2008, 40 per cent higher than the 1,409 closures reported by the BBPA in 2007.

Hayward added: “It is incomprehensible that the government not only seems to be so unconcerned about the loss of more pubs and jobs, but is introducing laws that they admit will make the problem worse. 44,000 jobs have been lost across the sector in the last couple of years and 59,000 more jobs will go unless action is taken.”

The figures reveal that community pubs are most at threat. Suburban pubs are closing at the rate of 19 a week, town centre pubs at eight a week and rural pubs at 13 a week.

Britain’s pubs are now closing almost 10 times faster than in 2006 (four a week) and nearly 20 times faster than in 2005 (two a week).

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Readers' comments

  • TonyC 19 January, 2009, 12:13

    Having spent the whole of my life in this trade i was raised in the industry and have now spent 20 years as a licensee it braeks my heart to see the damage this goverment and pub co's have made on the industry that i love I made the move about 8 years ago from tenanted to managed because i could see what was coming and i am glad i did. Pub co's have steadily bled this trade dry and forced good licensee's to leave the trade broke and disillusioned. New blood arrives and that is what pub co's see them as "new blood" a pocket full of cash and dreams and aspirations only to have their pockets emptied and their dreams and aspirations trashed. This goverment has steadfastly refused to help our industry "WE NEED HELP NOW!!" we dont need the billions that the banks need we dont need bailing out what we need is an even playing field. 1. end the tie 2. reduce the duty 3. Stop supermarkets selling at a loss 4. reduce the red tape 4 easy steps No goverment billions to bail us out just common sense and an even field

  • Steve Duffy 19 January, 2009, 12:13

    I think the business model of a leased pub as it stands with pubcos is totally flawed, when in hindsight, it is nearly impossible to buy alcohol at a decent price to achieve a working profit margin. After all, if any one of us, walked in to see our bank manager and asked him for 1.5 million (as an example) to buy licenced property and then told him that in excess of 80% of our profit was generated from a discount on beer sold, he'd probably laugh you out of his office. Now I have read that once all these pubs get sold off (RBS shedding 100 Punch pubs as an example) There is already some kind of creditable plan to enable licensees to not only purchase their own pub and to get reasonable interest rates to do so, together with the ability to buy as any free trader can at a price which will allow them to survive, even in a recesion. I think these pub companies have a lot to answer for and they have ruined many peoples' lives through their greed. I can't wait for the day, when buying a pub will be smiliar to buying a house and if you're prepared to give the customer a good quality service, then you will make a very good living, without the lion's share going to a bunch of directors, who probably can't even change a barrel between them. I wish every licensee the very best of luck and hope they can manage to survive until the upturn kicks in.

  • Chris Unwin 19 January, 2009, 12:00

    It really beggars belief that somebody voted this shower in. The labour government who have always claimed to be the working mans vote have done their utmost to take away the working mans pleasures in life. Where are all these Non Smokers who promised to come into our pubs once they were Smoke Free ? Its another load of crap from a government floundering from one crisis to another. When will you all wake up and Kick them out. They don't represent us they represent themselves. Our industry has got a fighting chance it just needs an even playing field. Increase the Duty for offsales by 400% and get the whole industry to sell resposibly not just the poor old pubs again.

  • denis cook 19 January, 2009, 11:41

    Having requested a meeting with my MP (she's Labour) TWICE - it's little surprise that she doesn't reply. Might I suggest that you forward this article to your local MP with a request to meet. My next move is to ask my local paper 'why won't MP speak to local publican?' - go on forward it!

  • Mat Cooper 19 January, 2009, 11:11

    why do you never hear about helpful hints during these slow times....There are many pubs out there that have adapted their way of life and are doing pretty well from it. Surely there is some good news around the corner !!

  • d 19 January, 2009, 11:10

    I am surprised people have still not got the message, they are still hanging onto their worthless shares in pubco's, do they know that the administrators are scratching at the doors of the pubco's ?? this trade is finbished, it cannot make a comeback from here, sell, sell, sell !

  • Jane 19 January, 2009, 11:10

    As a publican myself that has been fighting to keep my pub open for the past 18 months this news comes as no suprise, clearly the government have been doing everything they can to ensure the demise of the great British pub. Unfortunately for me, and the community that I serve, I am set to become another statistic in the next couple of weeks as I can no longer compete with the cheap supermarket deals, rising costs and the inevitable reduction in customers spending money in my establishment. Congratulations Mr Brown and your team, another feather in your caps for a job well done!!!

  • Stuart Aitken 19 January, 2009, 11:07

    Whilst 39 a week seems a big number and one can only feel sorry for the tenants and staff involved, we have for many years now had pubs way in excess of what the market can actually bear. With changing drinking and eating habits the consumer wants more now from a visit to any leisure location and a pub where it is still basically an old fashioned boozer with limited food potential is always going to struggle. However the PubCos will keep them open as long as possible because there is always someone who has always dreamed of being a pub landlord ( normally those who wanted to buy a bar in Spain but now thw Euro has stopped that ) who is prepared to pay rents and beer prices which will cripple the business from day one. In fact probably the same rent and beer prices which drove the last landlord out. In the mid nineties we had a study commissioned that reckoned we had at least 8000 pubs too many in the UK and it can only have got worse since then.

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