Pub deaths in England: Number of pubs at record low - Bark Sedov
Pub deaths in England: Number of pubs at record low

Pub deaths in England: Number of pubs at record low

Pub deaths in England: Number of pubs at record low

Status: 04.07.2022 09:58 a.m

A piece of English culture is faltering: the number of pubs has fallen to an all-time low. Many pubs are being demolished or converted into apartments and offices.

Pub numbers are falling in England and Wales: in the first half of this year there were fewer than 40,000 pubs. This is the result of an analysis by the real estate consultant Altus Group. That’s 7,000 fewer than a decade ago and fewer than ever before. According to the study, around 200 pubs disappeared between the end of 2021 and June alone. The West Midlands around the metropolis of Birmingham, as well as London and eastern England were particularly affected.

Altus stressed that in the wake of the pandemic and associated lockdowns, the hospitality industry has been hit by record high inflation and skyrocketing energy costs.

Association calls for state aid

The industry groups British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), British Institute of Innkeeping and UK Hospitality determined that only 37 percent of the establishments were operating profitably. BBPA boss Emma McClarkin is therefore calling for state aid. “It is vital that we get relief to ease that pressure or we risk losing more pubs year after year,” she said.

Pandemic and inflation are the two factors putting pressure on the industry: “As an industry, we have just weathered the toughest two years in living memory and are now faced with the challenge of extremely rising costs,” said BBPA boss Emma McClarkin.

Loneliness and isolation threaten

Since pubs are considered the soul of the “community” in the communities, the sharp decline is surprising. Because friends and families meet in the pubs for a Sunday roast, colleagues and sports groups enjoy a pint after a hard day’s work. If you want to have an after-work beer in central London on a Thursday afternoon, it takes a long time to get through the crowds to the bar. A visit to the pub is also a must for many tourists.

“If pubs are forced to close, there is a huge loss to local communities,” McClarkin said. As early as spring 2021, the think tank Localis also referred to the central role of pubs for the communities. For many people, going to the pub is an opportunity to leave their home and meet friends and neighbors. In other words, loneliness and social isolation would be avoided. Localis warned that if pubs were to be lost, especially in rural areas, this could endanger the social fabric.

Lucrative conversion to offices

The pub dying started a long time ago, the corona pandemic has only strengthened the trend. The reasons are manifold: the smoking ban, cheap alcohol in the supermarket or changed drinking habits. In addition, landlords complain about the beer taxes, which are among the highest in the world. Recently, the pubs have also been hit by strikes on the British railways, there were fewer commuters and nobody was strolling through the city centres. That cost him 25 percent of his earnings, said Clive Watson, founder of London’s City Pub Group.

Instead of leasing pubs, the owners also have them converted into apartments or offices. The areas are often centrally located and therefore extremely attractive.

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