We’ve written previously about the social importance of the traditional British pub as well as the economic effects but the latest figures show that a bad problem for the industry is getting worse.
The latest figures show that between April and June this year, two pubs a day were closing in England and Wales.
In this year’s second quarter 230 pubs closed, which is a 50% increase from the first quarter of 2023.
The pub industry body, the Beer and Pub Association, have dug deeper into the statistics and found that in the first six months of 2023 – 383 of the closed pubs have either been demolished or converted into homes or offices.
This has already nearly matched the total number of pubs lost in the whole of 2022 (386).
|Number of insolvencies
Figures from The Insolvency Service *to the end of July 2023
Responding to the figures, Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the Beer and Pub Association said: “These figures don’t just tell the story of the hard times pubs have faced in the past few years but indicate what is to come if the Government fails to extend the business rates relief (in 2024) and implement wider business rates reform.
“Since 2020 our pubs have faced a myriad of challenges, from forced closures to ongoing energy crisis and for many the looming increase in business rates early next year will be the last straw.”
Like other hospitality businesses, pubs now benefit from a 75% discount on their business rate bills, capped at £110,000.
The chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, announced the £2.1bn relief scheme at his autumn statement in November 2022, but the discount is scheduled to end in March 2024.
However, the effect of the relief being phased out will worsen by a scheduled rise in the headline business rates in line with inflation, an increase set to take effect in April next year which could add 6% to bills.
All eyes will be on the chancellor’s Autumn statement in November to see what, if any, new measures or extensions will be introduced.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is also urging the government to extend the 75% rate relief discount for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses beyond next spring’s cutoff, and to increase the threshold for small business rates relief from £12,000 to at least £25,000.
That would remove more than 250,000 small businesses from the rates system, they say.
FSB’s national chair, Martin McTague said: “For many small businesses on the high street and town centres, the current relief is a lifeline.
“In April this is due to end, creating a cliff edge that will be hugely damaging to thousands of businesses. Ensuring the relief is maintained for those businesses that need it most will be key to their survival.”
Chris Horner, insolvency director with BusinessRescueExpert, said: “For many pubs and other hospitality businesses, talk of relief arriving in April could be seen as fanciful as many of them are struggling and closing right now.
“The research from the Beer and Pub Association underlines one of the biggest problems for publicans and pub lovers in that when a pub closes, so many are demolished or transformed that they are gone for good with no hope of reopening or moving to a new premises.
“This is why it’s so important for landlords to get advice on how they can protect their business as early as possible. Because as many drinkers are finding out, when their local calls last orders, it really is for the last time.”
Any pub owner worried about the future, and right now that would be a majority, can get some free professional advice with one of our advisors as early as today or tomorrow.
We offer a free initial consultation for any director or business owner who arranges one through our easy-to-navigate website.
They’ll work with one of our team of dedicated advisors who will let them know what options they have and how they can implement them efficiently and quickly in order to help their business navigate through these unprecedented trading conditions.
The sooner you get in touch, the sooner you can start to implement options that could make the difference in your customers still being able to visit you in the weeks and months ahead.