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CAMRA Warns Storm Brewing For Pubs Unless Government Acts Soon

New figures show that 18 pubs are closing every week

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA)  is calling for a new deal for pubs in response to fresh data which reveals 18 pubs are being lost each week. The consumer group says that urgent action is needed to cut the tax burden placed on pubs.

Pubs are being hit hard by a triple whammy of one of the highest rates of beer duty across Europe, rapidly rising business rates and VAT. A third of the cost of a pub pint is now made up of various taxes.

While temporary business rate relief and a beer duty freeze have been welcome, CAMRA is calling on the Government to implement a fundamental review of the tax system. Britain’s departure from the European Union provides new opportunities to support pubs, such as the potential for lower rates of tax for draught beer sold in pubs.

Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s National Chairman says: “Pubs are now facing a crippling tax burden, exacerbated by the perfect storm of the last business rates revaluation and a high level of beer duty. From these new pub closure figures, it is clear that a fundamental change is needed if the British pub is to survive for future generations.

“As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, the Government has a unique opportunity to update the tax system to better support pubs, which are a bastion of British culture and at the heart of communities across the country.

“We can now look further afield for a new tax deal for the sector. This could include implementing the Australian model of having a lower rate of duty for beer sold in pubs, radically changing the business rates system, or charging a lower rate of VAT for pubs or, even better, all three.

“Millions of dedicated pub-goers are looking to the Government to act now to secure the future of the great British pub. We’re now challenging the Government to be the most pro-pub in history by seizing this opportunity.”

The data has been compiled by CAMRA’s WhatPub online pub guide, which covers about 47,500 pubs in the UK. This is estimated to represent over 95% of all currently open pubs. Information is collated by several thousand CAMRA members who provide updates on pubs to the 220 CAMRA branches maintaining the WhatPub database, and report to branches on pubs closing and opening. Branches then monitor these pub closures and record the key details including when and why.

Total UK pub closures Total Per Week
Jul-Dec 2017 460 17.7
Jan-Jun 2017 525 20.2
Jul-Dec 2016 455 17.5

Total pub closures Jul-Dec 2017 Closures %of total pubs closed
England 413 1.00%
Wales 19 0.60%
Scotland 28 0.80%

Regional Breakdown

Total pub closures Jul-Dec 2017 Closures % of total pubs closed
East Midlands 38 1.10%
East of England 47 1.10%
Greater London 52 1.20%
North East 16 0.80%
North West 59 0.90%
South East 62 1.00%
South West 47 0.90%
West Midlands 35 0.80%
Yorkshire and the Humber 57 1.20%

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