Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 23rd April 2019
Mounting cost pressures helped to force hundreds of pubs out of business across Britain over the course of last year.
In fact, the latest figures show that some 914 pubs closed their doors for the final time during 2018, which equates to roughly 76 closures per month.
Business rates and issues with consumer confidence are cited as key problems facing pub owners as they look to turn a profit and keep their operations sustainable.
The number of pubs liable for business rates in England and Wales is understood to have fallen by around 1,530 since the new business rates regime was introduced in April 2017.
The Altus Group, a real estate data company, has gathered details on the number of pubs closing across Britain and pointed out that while last year did see a high number of closures, the latest figures reflect a slowing of the pace of pub closures as compared with 2017.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the trade association UK Hospitality, said in response to the latest data: “Pubs are being hit with a myriad of cost pressures at a time of unprecedented political uncertainty and unstable consumer confidence.
“Unless positive action is taken by the Government to address crippling costs, more pubs will be forced out of business.”
The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) has pointed out that while they only represent around 0.5 per cent of total business turnover across the country, pubs pay around 2.8 per cent of the overall business rates bill.
According to the campaign group, those figures show that pubs effectively overpay on business rates to the tune of around £500 million on an annual basis.
The Altus Group has said that it hopes the increase in the threshold at which businesses, including pubs, are obliged to pay business rates might help ease some of the financial pressures they’re currently under.
The group has also pointed to a retail discount on business rates as a policy that will “help independent licensees in small premises” to manage their finances more effectively and potentially avoid having to close in the coming months and years.