There has been a 50 per cent surge in pub closures across England and Wales(Image: Jamie Lorriman – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
London has lost 46 pubs in the space of just six months as venues disappear from our streets at a record rate. The city saw the largest number of pubs close in England during the first half of 2023, with Wales seeing 53 pubs knocked down or converted.
This comes as the impact of soaring costs and pressure on consumer budgets became more stark. The data, which was compiled by commercial real estate specialists at Altus Group, showed a 50.3% jump after 153 pubs vanished across England and Wales in the first quarter of 2023. It means more than two pubs a day have left local communities over the first half of the year.
The overall number of pubs in England and Wales, including those vacant and being offered to let, fell to 39,404 at the end of June 2023. It means a total 383 pubs were demolished or converted for other uses such as homes, offices or even day nurseries during the half-year.
This also represents a sharp acceleration year-on-year, with only 386 pubs vanishing throughout the whole of 2022.
Alex Probyn, president of property tax at Altus Group, called on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to act in his autumn statement in November to ease the pressure of significant business rates on the sector. Currently, firms which pay business rates – the property tax affecting high street firms – will see an inflation-linked increase come next April, unless there is Government intervention.
This is expected to add more than 6% to bills next year. Mr Probyn said: “With energy costs up 80% year-on-year in a low growth, high inflation and high interest rates environment, the last thing pubs need is an average business rates hike of £12,385 next year.”
Pubs , as with other eligible hospitality, leisure and retail businesses, currently get a 75% discount off their business rates bills for the 2023/2024 tax year up to a cap of £110,000 per business but this is set to end on March 31 2024.