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‘Headwinds’ see pub numbers fall

There are 7,000 fewer pubs in England and Wales than 10 years ago, according to Altus Group.

The study found that the number of pubs had fallen to below 40,000 in the first half of this year - the lowest number on record.

"Whilst 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.

Commenting on today’s figures, 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 that many business owners were facing, and in many cases business support was not enough to keep them afloat. While these are pub closures, there has been similar – sometimes worse - levels of closure across restaurants, nightclubs and broader hospitality.

“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. For businesses struggling to repay Covid-related debt this could simply be too much.

“We need the Government to take urgent steps to remove barriers to growth, help to 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.”


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