Nearly 400 pubs to close in England and Wales by 2022

More than 32 pubs will disappear from communities each month in England and Wales in 2022 as soaring energy bills and staff pressure force businesses to close for the last time.

The latest analysis of official government figures by property consultants Altus Group found the total number of pubs fell by 386 over the year.

The total number of pubs in England and Wales, including those vacant and those offered to let, fell to 39,787 in December, compared with 40,173 a year earlier.

Nonetheless, the number of pubs closing permanently is 13.1% lower than the 2021 record, reflecting a more resilient year for UK pub lovers despite the economic turmoil.

New figures show 50 pubs have disappeared in Wales in the past year.

Pubs have grappled with soaring energy costs, rising food prices and weak consumer demand throughout the year, with more challenges forecast for 2023.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) warned earlier this month that venues had reduced opening hours or menus to address concerns that many pubs could be forced to close without further support, not least when it comes to energy bills these questions.

The data highlights the number of pubs disappearing from neighborhoods through demolition or conversion to other uses such as homes or offices.

A total of 2663 pubs have disappeared from towns and villages in the past five years.

Altus Group’s Ben Nelson said: “Many hoteliers I’ve spoken to are concerned that this could be their last Christmas and they really need to identify future support.

“High operating costs and low margins make land parcels attractive for alternative investment and use, so continued support is vital to protect pubs, given the important role they play at the heart of local communities.”

The hospitality industry is one of the businesses receiving energy bill support through the government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme, however, the current scheme only lasts until the end of March.

The industry has been clouded by uncertainty over further support, with the government confirming it will announce the next scheme to support businesses’ energy bills in the new year.

Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg

Labor shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds (Beresford Hodge/PA)

Labour’s shadow business secretary, Jonathan Reynolds, said: “The revolving door of ministers has left hospitality companies in limbo for months with no idea what their energy bills will be in 2023.

“The government’s failure to address the crisis in the cost of doing business is evidence that hotel companies have had to reduce hours or close during the most lucrative season.”

Source link