CAMRA- ‘Community life in Britain’s suburbs under threat’
New pub closure figures out today show 16 pubs close across Britain every week
* 8 suburban pubs close every week, compared to 6 rural, and 2 high street
* Over 1000 pubs lost in Britain’s suburbs in just 2 years
* 10 tied pubs* are closing every week compared to 7 free of tie, with the number of managed pubs actually increasing by 1 opening per week.
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has today called for urgent Government action to save Britain’s historic pub culture in light of new research showing how 16 pubs now close across the country on a weekly basis. The consumer group has expressed particular concern that Government policy is failing communities on the peripheries of Britain’s towns and cities, with half of these closures (8 a week) taking place in the nation’s suburbs.
In just 2 years, 1,078 pubs have been lost in suburban areas, with many community locals battered by whirlwind beer tax hikes and deep alcohol discounting from nearby supermarket chains, bringing about a general decline in pub going by consumers. Meanwhile, high street pubs are closing at a quarter of the rate – 2 per week – of suburban locals.
Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive, said, ‘While high street city centre venues are showing a degree of resistance in the current climate, both suburban and rural areas are under threat as wholesale pub closures deprive more local people of a community centre. Pubs are vital for social cohesion and cultural integration, and therefore the Government must act swiftly to repair the damage inflicted upon local communities by offering genuine support for enterprising and hard working licensees.
‘This research also further underlines the major problems caused by many hard-working pub lessees being unable to buy their beer on the open market, restricted by punitive measures imposed by greedy pub companies. The number of tied pubs has fallen by over 3,500 in just 3 years, with free of tie pubs remaining better placed to weather these difficult economic times by having the ability to offer greater beer choice and lower prices to the consumer.’
Today’s figures coincide with a groundbreaking new report by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) into the social value of community pubs. The report reinforces CAMRA’s figures by highlighting the need for a radical change in Government policy that recognises the important community function many pubs perform.
Recommended measures to provide vital support include business rate relief for pubs acting as ‘centres of a community’, reform of planning laws which prevent pubs from being demolished without the need for planning permission, and improving relations between large pub companies and their lessees to offer a guest beer option and an option to become ‘free of tie’ accompanied by an open market rent review.
IPPR Associate Director, Rick Muir, said, "Government must stop using a one size fits all approach to licensed premises which is killing off our community pubs. Instead responsible well-run community pubs should be encouraged and supported.
"Our research shows community pubs aren’t just places to drink but also places where people meet their neighbours; where local clubs hold meetings and events; and which support many important local services such as village post offices and general stores.’
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