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Surge in ‘vanishing’ pubs as 80 locations close per month

Pub Closures
Pub Closures

Landlords will be hoping for a welcome boost from the Euros and Olympics this summer, but for many pubs it will come too late.

Pubs are disappearing at a rate of 80 a month across England and Wales so far this year, according to analysis of official figures by property consultancy Altus Group. The monthly rate of “vanishing” pubs has jumped by 56pc compared to last year.

The analysis measures the number of premises that have been either demolished or repurposed and includes some that were sitting vacant or up for let before disappearing.

However, the findings suggest an accelerating decline in the number of pubs across the country. Nearly 240 have closed down and either been demolished or converted into homes, offices or businesses so far this year, according to Altus.

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Wales and the North West have seen the largest decline in pub premises over the past year, with 70 disappearing from each area.

Alex Probyn from Altus Group blamed the weight of business rates for the accelerating closures. It is a tax based on the value of a business’s property and does not fluctuate with profitability.

Business rates have been a significant burden on the pub sector at a time when fewer people are drinking out because of the cost of living crisis.

Mr Probyn said: “It is a tax that has risen 49pc during the last 14 years with business, across all sectors, now paying £9.48bn a year more than in 2010.”

Eighty of the UK’s largest pub groups and brewers have sent an open letter to Sir Keir Starmer, Rishi Sunak and Ed Davey ahead of the election demanding political leaders do more to support the sector.

The industry has called for an immediate cut to beer duty to bring it in line with the European average and reform of business rates.

The Conservatives have promised that duty on draught pints in pubs will remain lower than on drinks sold in supermarkets.

The party has also promised a review of the night time economy in England to explore how to reverse the decline in pubs and clubs. It has also promised an easing of business rates over time.

Labour has said it would overhaul the business rates system to raise the same revenue in a fairer way and level the playing field between the high street and online businesses.

Mr Probyn said: “Whilst the pledges are welcome to drive down bills permanently for the high street, business had hoped for more detail and a timeframe in achieving this.”