William Eichler 18 September 2023

Pubs 'vanishing' at alarming rate as closures jump 50%

Pubs vanishing at alarming rate as closures jump 50% image
Image: The Crooked House website.

The number of pubs in England and Wales that have been demolished or converted into other types of use has risen dramatically, with over 380 ‘vanishing’ in the first half of this year.

Between 1 January and 30 June 2023, a total of 383 pubs ‘vanished’ from local areas, according to Altus Group’s pub tracker. This represents a sharp jump on last year, which saw 386 pubs lost for good during the 12 month period.

During the first six months of the year, Wales lost the greatest number of pubs with 52 ‘vanishing’ with both the London and North West regions losing 46 pubs each.

Pubs currently get a 75% discount off their business rates bills for the 2023/2024 tax year up to a cap of £110,00 per business, but this is set to end on 31 March 2024.

Business rates are also set to rise next April in line with September’s headline rate of inflation which could also add more than 6% to bills next year.

Alex Probyn, president of Property Tax at Altus Group, warned that ‘with energy costs up 80% year-on-year in a low-growth, high-inflation and high interest rates environment, the last thing pubs need is an average business rates hike of £12,385 next year.’

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) national chair Martin McTague said: 'Government needs to bring about a sea change when it comes to business rates. It’s long been known that the system is not fit for purpose and needs an urgent overhaul. Small firms have taken on huge cost burdens in recent times and the Chancellor has an opportunity here to take action on business rates, while enabling small businesses to grow.

'For many small businesses on the high street and town centres, the current relief is a lifeline. In April this is due to end, creating a cliff edge that will be hugely damaging to thousands of businesses. Ensuring the relief is maintained for those businesses that need it most will be key to their survival.'

If this article was of interest, then check out our feature, 'Why the planning system is failing our pubs'.

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