Pubs vanishing at rate of two every day, as closures surge 50%

Fifty pubs lost so far this year in Wales alone – with nearly as many disappearing in just six months as were lost in whole of 2022

Andy Gregory
Monday 18 September 2023 08:45 BST

Related: Night Time Economy Adviser warns 7 out of 10 pubs could close

Pubs are shutting down at a rate of two every day across England and Wales, as the number of closures surged by 50 per cent in three months, stark new figures show.

Highlighting the toll of soaring costs and intense pressures on consumer budgets, 230 pubs disappeared from local communities in the second quarter of this year, according to official statistics.

This is a leap of more than 50 per cent on the 153 pubs which closed in the three months prior.

It means a total of 383 pubs were demolished or converted for other uses such as homes, offices or even day nurseries during the first half of the year – close to the total of 386 closures seen in the entirety of 2022.

As of the end of June, there were just under 40,000 pubs left in England and Wales, although that included those left vacant and others being offered to let.

Wales has lost the greatest number of pubs so far this year, with 52 disappearing, while both the London and North West regions lost 46 pubs each.

Alex Probyn, president of property tax at Altus Group, which calculated the rate of closures to be equivalent to two every day, urged Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to act in his autumn statement in November to ease the pressure of significant business rates on the sector.

Currently, firms which pay business rates – the property tax affecting high street firms – will see an inflation-linked increase come next April, unless there is government intervention.

Business rates hike is ‘last thing pubs need’

This is expected to add more than 6 per cent to bills next year.

“With energy costs up 80 per cent year-on-year in a low growth, high inflation and high-interest rates environment, the last thing pubs need is an average business rates hike of £12,385 next year,” said Mr Probyn.

Pubs, as with other eligible hospitality, leisure and retail businesses, currently get a 75 per cent discount off their business rates bills for the 2023/2024 tax year up to a cap of £110,000 per business but this is set to end on March 31 2024.

Additional reporting by PA

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