We’ve been asked about this a bit lately – is the rate of pub closure in the UK going to effect the gems we have in our guided and free walks? Given there are more than 7,000 pubs in London, and 52,000 in the UK, we didn’t think the headlines we read of “more than 52 pubs close per week across the UK “ would make a dent.
But we decided to have a closer look and see just how bad this situation is, and, the latest figures we could find do show some signs for concern in London. In the 6 months June to Decemebr 2009, there were about 1,500 UK pubs closed, more than 52 pubs a week!
In the same timeframe 241 London pubs closed (6.9% of all London pubs on an annual basis) – more than 9 a week. Only 94 new pubs were opened – about 3.6 per week. The net change of 147, or 4.2% of all London pubs per annum, in that 6 months is still higher than the UK average over the same period, with 2,026 or 3.8% of all 52,000 UK pubs closing per annum.
With the new pubs added back in, that meant London was losing about 6 pubs a week, and the UK around 40, in late 2009.
According to this BBC article the closures are a dramatic increase - with around 2 pubs a week in the UK closing in 2006 and 27 in 2007 – you can see the huge jump to around 52 per week in 2009 is a concern. Let’s hope when the 2010 figures are published in a few months this has abated.
The British Beer & Pub Associaiton (BBPA) said “Every English region, as well as Scotland and Wales, show falls, as a range of factors, including the recession and successive tax hikes, have hit pubs hard. In the North West alone, 10 pubs a week are closing – that’s a drop of 3% in just six months.”
Commenting on the pub closure stats, BBPA chief executive, Brigid Simmonds, said:
“These figures show the scale of the decline of the great British pub. Almost 40 pubs are closing every week across Britain and that’s bad news for jobs, bad news for the local economy and bad news for the social life of local communities.
“We know from opinion polls that people value their local pub. It is an important part of the fabric of our communities. So it is vital that industry, Government, local authorities and others work together to support this great British institution.
“Of course, some pubs are doing well even now. But many pubs have been hit hard by the recession – and the Chancellor’s beer tax hikes in the Budget heap only further pressure on local businesses trying to do their bit to aid the recovery.
Even if you are only visiting for short time as a tourist you can support London pubs in 2 ways: