Pubs call last orders as supermarkets take trade

THOUSANDS of pubs and bars are facing closing time for good, with the number of establishments handing back their licences doubling over the last three years.

Sweet &?Maxwell, the legal analyst, said that 5,700 licences were surrendered in the last 12 months, an increase of 13 per cent and more than double the amount in 2007.

A separate study by accountancy firm Wilkins Kennedy found that at least one pub or bar went bust every day in 2010.

The so-called “on trade” industry is suffering intense competition from supermarkets, which have boosted sales following the smoking ban.

A spokesman for the British Beer & Pub Association said: “There’s no doubt pubs in particular are struggling. Around 1,300 shut in 2010 and the decision to raise Beer Tax by seven per cent in the Budget was a hammer blow for pub and pubgoers.”

Wilkins Kennedy director Anthony Cork said: “These numbers show the extent to which the industry is struggling. Bars and restaurants are being squeezed from several directions and a growing number are being forced to close.

“Bars, pubs and nightclubs are being undercut by supermarket alcohol deals which encourage people to drink at home rather than go out.”