I think we'd all agree that - especially on a sunny day - very little beats a trip to your local pub, complete with beer garden (or on a rainy day, to a cosy one with a great roast dinner offering). But, according to new figures, sadly it seems that the number of British pubs are dropping at an alarming rate... and the days of 'popping into the local' could very well become a thing of the past.
The total number of pubs in the UK dropped to below 40,000 during the first half of this year, a decline of over 7,000 when compared to a decade ago. As for why this is happening, industry experts cite a number of factors, from the pandemic to the cost of living crisis we're all currently trying to make our way through (meaning it's cheaper to socialise at home, or unfortunately, for some, that sort of disposable income is now incredibly scarce).
Pubs are also struggling with staffing issues, rising rent, product and energy costs, plus supplies. Figures from the British Beer and Pub Association, British Institute of Innkeeping and UK Hospitality, suggests that just one in three hospitality businesses are currently profitable.
Research from real estate advisors, Altus Group, also suggests that some pubs have been demolished or converted into the likes of offices or flats. It may also be possible that the number of people embracing a sober lifestyle could play a part in closures too.
Speaking about the 200 pubs that have shut down in England and Wales over the last six months alone, Robert Hayton, Altus Group’s UK president said [via City AM], "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."
The areas that saw the most pub closures are the West Midlands, London and the East of England.
So, if ever you needed a sign to hit up your local for a pint this weekend, consider this officially it.
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