British pubs closing at rate of two a day since April business rates hike

 
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Two pubs a day have shut up shop since April (Source: Getty)

Two pubs a day have shut their doors since last April, according to new research.

Some 616 pubs have been demolished or converted to other uses since the change in business rates came into force, real estate adviser Altus Group has said.

But the overall rate of decline has slowed since the decade following the smoking ban and the financial crisis. Between April 2010 and 2017, four pubs closed every day in the UK.

There was also some good news for London, where the number of pubs has risen to 3,947 at an average opening rate of one new pub per three days.

Alex Probyn, UK president of business rates at Altus Group, said: “The increase in the thresholds at which pubs pay business rates coupled with the additional £25million of rates relief has, undoubtedly, stemmed the decline."

Last year chancellor Phillip Hammond granted 90 per cent of pubs a £1,000 discount on their business rates. After being extended at the Autumn budget this will now cover 2018/19 bills as well.

But the pub industry has still called for the sector to receive more relief, citing a combination of costs including VAT and the increased minimum wage as a major burden on businesses.

Even the massive pub chain JD Wetherspoon has said it will be affected by business rates in the second half of this year.

At the Autumn Budget, Hammond bowed to pressure to freeze alcohol duties, bringing some relief across the hospitality sector.

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