Britain’s pubs are still closing, but at a much slower rate than before – here’s why

Twenty five per cent of the UK’s pubs have closed since 2001. But the picture is finally improving, because of the hot World Cup summer – and some local people power.

Twenty five per cent of the UK’s pubs have closed since 2001. Between January and June 2017, more than 20 pubs shut every week – 525 in total. If this startling trajectory had continued, Britain would have eventually been left with nothing more than a handful of Wetherspoons and a Hungry Horse. Once buzzing neighbourhood establishments with their shiny green tiles would have finally been completely replaced by unaffordable flats and branches of Tesco Express. The latest figures reveal 14 pubs closed their doors each week between July and December 2018, according to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). Despite the slightly more positive picture, the consumer champion has renewed its call to tankards and is again promoting its Save Our Pubs campaign. It said the Government needs to “urgently halt the tide”. National chairman Jackie Parker said: “Pubs are a very important part of our national culture and are valuable community assets which help to combat loneliness and social isolation.”

The number of small pubs has halved in under 20 years

This romanticism isn’t far-fetched: pubs have long been a vital resource for British people. Sitting by a fire, a slot machine and a snoozing dog with a pork pie and a pint of Doom Bar isn’t fantasy. It’s a real thing that happens Fortunately, there have been positive signs in the past two years. While small pubs remain under threat – since their peak, at 40,840 in 2002, their number has halved to 22,840 last year – their relative demise has slowed. CAMRA said there are things to be hopeful about: tighter planning regulations, community action groups, and increasingly diverse boozers have all buoyed trade. “It’s great we have seen a drop in the number of pubs closing, showing that our hard-fought campaign to get planning protection for pubs was worth it,” said Ms Parker [ . . . ]

Pub closures

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