One British pub shut every 14 hours since 2010 – and Covid threatens many more

Pubs have been closing at a rate of one every 14 hours under the Tories – with 5,500 shutting over the past decade, research has revealed.

Analysis by Labour uncovered the shocking decline of Britain’s boozers since the Conservatives returned to power in 2010.

Numbers have plummeted from 44,680 to 39,145 – a drop of 5,535.

The hospitality industry has been among the hardest hit by curbs to cut the spread of Covid-19.

Labour warned of further closures if the Government presses ahead with its blanket withdrawal of the coronavirus furlough scheme from the end of October.

Shadow Business Minister Lucy Powell said: “Pubs are a vital part of our high streets and social fabric in communities up and down the country.



Lucy Powell MP
Shadow Business Minister Lucy Powell

“They have been hard hit by the pandemic and Tory indifference and incompetence over many years means that many have gone to the wall.

“Ministers’ blanket approach to ending the furlough further threatens the future of many more.

“The furlough scheme must be extended for hard hit sectors to save jobs now, and a Hospitality and High Street fund so local areas can target support at businesses still in distress.”

Labour based its figures on data from the Inter-Departmental Business Register.

It showed every UK region suffered a fall in the number of pubs and bars.

In the South East, numbers dropped by 855 from 6,195 to 5,340; in the North West they fell 670 from 5,205 to 4,535; in the South West they dropped by 570 from 4,825 to 4,255; in the East of England there was a drop of 515 from 4,010 to 3,495; in the East Midlands numbers fell 510 from 3,720 to 3,210; the West Midlands recorded of a drop of 475 from 3,990 to 3,515; Yorkshire and the Humber dropped 420 from 4,125 to 3,705; in the North East they fell by 95 premises, from 1,795 to 1,700; in London by 365 from 3,915 to 3,550; in Wales by 530 from 2,720 to 2,190; in Scotland by 360 from 3,215 to 2,855; and in Northern Ireland by 175 from 965 to 790.

Industry leaders echoed calls for the furlough scheme to be extended for pubs and bars.

British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “A sector specific extension of the furlough scheme would be greatly welcomed by our sector.



Many bars have introduced measures to protect staff and customers

“With our pubs grappling with the ongoing challenge of returning to the trading levels they were at before the lockdown, hundreds of thousands of jobs hang in the balance.

“Extending the furlough scheme alone will not save our pubs, though.

“For the long-term success of our sector we need the Government to recognise the vital role our pubs play in our communities and the economy, by tackling the huge tax burden they faced even before the impact of Covid.

“£1 in every £3 spent in a pub goes to the taxman and now is the time to reinvest that money in our pubs and brewers so they can survive the immediate term and help drive the economic recovery in the mid-term.”

UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Pubs are unarguably a massive asset to British economy, culture and society, and the pandemic means that yet more of them are at risk.



The PM has been urged to do more to support the industry

“As a sector, hospitality has been hit first, hardest and for the longest, so we are looking to Government to ensure that measures are in place – whether via furlough or other measures – to safeguard jobs in a sector that will be key for driving economic recovery.”

Campaign for Real Ale chairman Nik Antona said: “While pub closures have slowed dramatically in the last few years, every closed pub is a huge loss to the local community and the local economy.

“The Covid-19 crisis has been an unprecedented experience for the beer and pubs industry, and its full impact has yet to be felt.



Boarded up Blackburn Pub
Pubs have been closing for years



Pubs were temporarily forced to close during the coronavirus lockdown but most have since reopened

“More support is urgently needed from the Government to prevent closures, which is why we have been calling for business rates to be cancelled for another year to reflect the reduced trading conditions post-lockdown.

“The Government also needs to seize the opportunity to cut tax on draught beer to encourage people back to pubs and protect local jobs over the coming months.”

A Treasury spokeswoman said: “We have stood by pubs and the communities they serve throughout the pandemic, providing targeted support for the sector including business rates holidays and cash grants of up to £25,000.

“The hugely successful Eat Out To Help Out initiative also helped protect two million jobs in the hospitality sector, and the industry is also benefiting from a reduced rate of VAT until January 2021.

“The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will have been open for eight months from start to finish – with the government helping to pay the wages of over 9.6 million jobs so far.

“And support doesn’t end in October with the Furlough Bonus paying £1,000 per employee for those brought back to work and kept in employment into 2021.”

source.



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