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More than 150 pubs have already shut this year

Rebecca Goodman
Written By:
Rebecca Goodman

Between January and March this year, 153 pubs closed down, a 60% increase when compared to 2022.

This is in comparison to 386 pubs closed across the whole of 2022.

The sharp increase in pub closures across England and Wales has been largely blamed on rising costs and high inflation levels.

The problem is likely to get worse as the average energy bill for a pub will rise by £18,400 a year from this month as the Energy Bill Relief Scheme ends, according to the The British Beer and Pub Association.

51 pubs a month shut their doors

Last year an average of 32 pubs a month closed down and so far in 2023 an average of 51 are closing down each month, according to official Government data.

The number of pubs, including those that are vacant and being offered to let, fell to 39,634 from 39,878, according to analysis by the commercial real estate intelligence firm Altus Group.

High costs for energy and food are being blamed on the closures combined with weakened consumer demand and more people staying at home because of the cost-of-living-crisis.

The highest number of pubs closed in the East Midlands, with 23 shutting their doors, followed by 20 in the North West, and 19 in both London and the South East.

Separate news today from Barclays showed that 62% of consumers were eating out less because of rising prices. 

Many of the pubs that have closed down have been converted into homes, offices or in some cases nurseries.

Alex Probyn, president of property tax at Altus Group, said “Pubs have seen their values for the business rates tax fall 17% overall and, with measures taken at last year’s Autumn Statement, that will mean a tax saving of £5,500 for the average pub but that simply won’t compensate for the energy support being lost making plots even more attractive for alternative investment.”

‘Extortionate costs wiping out profits’

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “Energy bills are decimating our sector with extortionate costs wiping out profits and closing pubs at a faster rate than the pandemic.

“Pubs that were profitable and thriving before the energy crisis are being left with no option but to shut up shop. We have been raising the alarm for months that energy costs are posing an existential threat to pubs across the country and these figures are evidence of that.

“It is essential that the Government intervenes to ensure energy suppliers are offering the option of renegotiation to pubs locked into unmanageably high energy contracts. Make no mistake, the longer this goes on the more pubs will be lost forever in communities across the country, something must be done immediately to save them.”