The number of pubs calling last orders flatlined despite the toll of the pandemic, with more than 400 pubs disappearing from communities in England and Wales, according to new figures.
New analysis has revealed the number of pubs across England and Wales in 2021 was largely unchanged from last year.
Analysis of official Government data by real estate adviser Altus Group has shown the number of pubs liable for property taxes, for business rates, including those vacant and being offered to let, fell by 444 to 40,173 in December, compared with 40,617 a year earlier.
The figure means roughly 37 pubs have been demolished or converted for other uses, such as for homes or offices, each month in 2021.
Recent data has shown a steadying in the sector, with 446 disappearing in 2020 and 473 disappearing in 2019, after pub numbers tumbled dramatically by 914 in 2018.
Nevertheless, it shows the continued fall in pub numbers across the UK, with 2,277 vanishing over the past four years.
The South West and North West regions have the highest number of pubs at 5,739 and 5,361 respectively, according to the Government figures.
Meanwhile, the North East and Wales have the lowest numbers at 1,983 and 3,060 respectively.
Robert Hayton, UK president at Altus Group, said “Pubs continue to bear the brunt of coronavirus restrictions but have, thankfully, proved remarkably resilient.
“However, it remains to be seen what impact Omicron has on numbers next year as this could be the straw that broke the camel’s back for many.”
Hospitality insolvencies have also been reduced despite the impact of the pandemic as a result of support measures for pubs, restaurants and cafes, including furlough, business rates holidays and the rent moratorium.
However, the phasing out of financial support in recent months and the limited nature of the Chancellor’s latest package of measures in response to Omicron could mean more hardship is on the horizon.
Hospitality and leisure businesses were told on Tuesday that they will be able to receive up to £6,000 per premises after trade was heavily impacted by the latest spread of Covid-19.
But firms and business leaders have warned this might not be enough, with the boss of restaurant chain Gaucho describing the support as “too little too late”.