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'26 pubs a week closing' but hopes rise for future


Pub closures have increased to 26 a week, although campaigners hope the industry's fortunes are set to improve.

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) said the number of pubs shutting for good has increased from 18 a week in the past few months.

Camra said the figures showed how important it was that Chancellor George Osborne had scrapped the beer duty escalator - which increased beer prices 2 per cent above inflation - in his last Budget.

Chief executive Mike Benner said: "We believe that the scrapping of the beer duty escalator and the extra 1p off beer duty announced in this year's Budget could mark a turning point for pubs."

Camra has launched a campaign to have hundreds of pubs listed as "assets of community value" in a bid to stop locals being sold for short term financial gain by owners.

Mr Benner added: "We are hopeful that the fortunes of Britain's pubs are set to change."

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: "Local pubs are part of the social and cultural fabric of this nation and we are determined to protect them.

"That's why we are cutting taxes for small community pubs by doubling small business rate relief for three and a half years and reducing corporation tax to 20 per cent, helping small and medium size pubs.

"On top of this the Community Right to Bid is already giving communities the power to step in and save their treasured locals from closure."