New warning as 30 pubs shut a week
Mar 6 2008 by Sam Casey, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
NEARLY 30 pubs are closing every week, says a trade group.
The British Beer and Pub Association says an average of 27 boozers a week – nearly four a day – have shut in the last year.
In 2007 some 1,409 pubs closed, seven times more than the 2006 figure.
And the problem is worst in the north of England.
Lee Le Clercq, the association’s north of England secretary, said spiralling costs, falling sales, a lack of consumer confidence and the smoking ban had all had an impact.
He added: “A disproportionate number of pubs have disappeared in the North.
“These figures show the stark reality of the pub trade today, in contrast to the hype surrounding the myth of 24-hour drinking and extended pub opening hours.
“Pub closures at this rate are threatening an important hub of our social fabric and community history.
“What we need to stop the decline is support from the Government and the public.”
The news follows a series of articles in the Examiner called Death of the Local, examining the problems faced by traditional local pubs. Beer sales were at their lowest level since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Pubs without room to provide outdoor facilities for smokers or food had been hit hardest.
Mr Le Clercq said: “Some commentators would have us believe that the pub trade has faced a bonanza following the introduction of the Licensing Act in 2005. Nothing could be further from the truth.”