But new BBPA survey shows 2,365 pubs closed in 2009
The tide is turning on the rate of pub closures, but 39 licensees a week are still shutting their doors for the final time, new figures reveal.
After peaking at 52 closures a week in the first half of last year, the new figures show the situation for pubs is slowly improving.
However, closures remain at “historically high levels”.
The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) survey found a net total of 1,013 pubs closed between July and December 2009 – meaning the loss of 10,000 jobs.
During the whole of last year, 2,365 pubs in the UK shut.
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said times remained “very tough” for pubs even though the country was coming out of recession.
“Continuing pub closures, and the recent five per cent per cent decline in pub beer sales we reported, confirm that pubs are not out of the woods yet,” she said.
The figures, compiled by research firm CGA, also added fuel to the debate over whether the pubco model is increasing the rate of pub closures.
The survey showed that more freehouses than pubco-owned outlets had shut during the second half of last year.
Over the period, 576 freehouses closed at the rate of 22 a week, compared to 320 closures among tenanted and leased pubs at the rate of 12 a week. Meanwhile managed pubs closed at the rate of five a week – 117 in total.
The BBPA said “significant pressures” remain on pubs and urged the government to ease the burden of red tape and above inflation beer tax increases.
The government is set to lose more than £250m in tax revenues this year if the current rate of closures continues, the group said.
Simmonds added: “Pubs make a significant and valuable contribution to both the national economy and community life. It’s time for government to work with our industry and put into practice policies that support pubs and local communities.”
The BBPA is urging people to get behind its I'm Backing the Pub campaign