Pubs are continuing to close all over the country, with around 18 closing a week currently. That comes close to 1000 a year, meaning the once steady industry is waning faster than we thought.
The reasons for these closures are varied. Some are blaming the smoking ban of 2007, which prevented indoor smoking and therefore reduced the number of smokers visiting pubs.
Some say the prices of drinks are unaffordable, with the average price of a pint for the UK currently coming out at £3.60 (yougov.com).
This has meant that many people are choosing to stay at home with shop-bought alcohol for less, saving themselves money while staying in the comfort of their own homes. But many are arguing for help to keep pubs alive as part of our British history, and the community feeling in many establishments. Young people are actually drinking less too, with 16-24 year olds least likely to drink than all other age groups.
Pubs are changing as establishments too. People are asking for different drinks such as craft beer instead of traditional pints. There’s also a lot more gastro-pubs now, focusing on food rather than drink sales, meaning old-style pubs may not function as well in these days.
One of the major reasons given for pub closures is that business costs are rapidly rising. The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) wants there to be an annual £5,000 reduction in business rates for pubs in England. This increase in costs explains many pub closures as landlords simply can’t keep the pub afloat on such small profit.
However this also applies to loads of other types of businesses, especially high street stores and independent businesses. Taxes mean most of the price of a drink is made up by tax, so there’s very little profit. High beer duty and VAT increases contribute to this.
However, this is the one area where things can be improved. Although duty and taxes cannot be decreased by ourselves, other business related costs can be.
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