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.”