The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has warned that UK pubs face a “ticking time bomb’ due to soaring business rates, revealing that 28,000 pubs have closed since the 1970’s.
In a report, CAMRA announced that the number of UK pubs has fallen by a third since the organisation was founded three decades ago.
In the 1970’s the total number of British pubs topped 75,000. Now, that number is less than 50,000 with more beer consumed at home than in the pub.
The organisation has called the UK government’s new business rates the latest “ticking time bomb to devastate the sector’, warning that UK pubs are struggling to keep up with rising tax payments.
CAMRA noted that whilst many out-of-town supermarkets and stores saw their rates decrease following the April changes, centre pubs will bear the brunt of the tax hikes.
Representatives at CAMRA said that these tax changes can “only fuel the rate and level of pub closures.”
The real ale body has now launched a campaign calling for a £5,000 annual reduction in business rates for every pub in England.
Before the UK General Election in June 2017, CAMRA encouraged candidates to ‘pledge for pubs’ and support British pubs in government. 130 candidates who were elected in June signed up to the pledge.
A Government spokesman said: “The Great British pub is a national treasure and we’re backing communities that want to protect and run their local.”
“We’ve already provided more than 9,000 small pubs with a £1,000 discount on their businesses rates bill as part of our £435 million package of support for businesses.”
“In addition, both pubs and their customers have saved over £2 billion since 2013 thanks to changes to alcohol duty”.
In March 2017, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced that UK alcohol duty would rise alongside inflation, effectively ending a freeze that had protected alcohol from further duty increases.
Good Beer Guide editor Roger Protz said: “The British pub is unique, rooted in our island’s history, dating from Roman and Saxon times.”
“There is no better place for people to meet, enjoy a beer, strike up a conversation, make new friends and put the world to rights. Above all, the British pub, both ancient and modern, has character and an atmosphere that could never be replaced”.