Pubs are vanishing from communities across England and Wales amid soaring energy and food prices.
Analysis of government data conducted by real estate advisor Altus Group shows that the number of public houses shutting up shop leapt to 51 a month in the first financial quarter of 2023.
In 2022, after the UK emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic, 32 pubs were lost on average each month, with 386 disappearing in total.
But 153 pubs have already closed their doors in the first three months of this year, up nearly 60 percent on last year’s figures.
These local watering holes reportedly face being demolished or converted into offices, homes and even day nurseries.
Alex Porbyn, an analyst at Altus Group, said “Pubs have seen their values for the business rates tax fall 17% overall and, with measures taken at last year’s Autumn Statement, that will mean a tax saving of £5,500 for the average pub but that simply won’t compensate for the energy support being lost making plots even more attractive for alternative investment.”
Pub landlords face the risk of scaring away punters by raising prices to cover the costs of soaring energy bills, food and drink made more expensive by months of rising inflation.
The British Beer and Pub Association has warned that, on average, pubs will be handed an annual £18,400 bill for energy by the end of this month after the Energy Bill Relief Scheme comes to an end.
Emma McClarkin Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said: “Energy bills are decimating our sector with extortionate costs wiping out profits and closing pubs at a faster rate than the pandemic. Pubs that were profitable and thriving before the energy crisis are being left with no option but to shut up shop. We have been raising the alarm for months that energy costs are posing an existential threat to pubs across the country and these figures are evidence of that.
“It is essential that the Government intervenes to ensure energy suppliers are offering the option of renegotiation to pubs locked into unmanageably high energy contracts. Make no mistake, the longer this goes on the more pubs will be lost forever in communities across the country, something must be done immediately to save them.”