BBPA: Over 500 Pubs Close in 2023 as Sector Calls on Chancellor for Action in Spring Budget

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Depressing figures have been released by the British Beer and Pub Association showing that 2023 was another year that saw pubs close across the United Kingdom, with 509 calling time and shutting their doors for the last time.

The beer and pub industry supports 936,000 jobs from farmers growing barley and hops, to the brewers, pub landlords and their staff who play hugely important roles in our cities, towns, and villages. The industry contributes £26.2 billion to the UK economy and generates £15.1 billion in tax revenue.

The closure of 509 pubs equates to over 6,000 jobs lost at these pubs alone. This will have a major knock-on effect to the lives of those affected. 

What’s more, a pub is often the local economic force multiplier.  If a local High Street loses its pub, it loses the key anchor business which attracts footfall and which support the other neighbouring businesses.  The decline in our local High Streets is thus in no small measure connected to the decline in pub numbers with over 3,000 lost in the last six years:

United Kingdom:

2017 – 48,349 pubs.

2023 – 45,306 pubs.

This shows the UK has lost a 3,043 pubs, 6% in the last six years. This trend is not a recent one either, with around a quarter of all pubs having closed since 2002.

At the last Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced a number of measures to continue to support the sector, but challenging conditions persist.  Despite the relative recovery of the sector following the pandemic brewers and pubs operate on incredibly narrow margins with high fixed costs, squeezed on all sides by higher-than-expected labour costs, rising prices of raw materials, and a heavy tax burden, as well as being major users of energy.

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said:

“When a community loses a pub, it does not just lose the building and jobs, it loses a cultural asset at the heart of the community that is impossible to replace. In any local economy or community, pubs are an economic bellwether and there is an obvious connection between the loss of pubs and the decline of local High Streets.

“At the last Autumn Statement the Chancellor provided a number of measures to support the beer and pub sector, but now is the time to stop the rot and at this Budget we need to set a path to secure the long term sustainability for brewers and pubs with a cut to beer duty, a cap to the business rates multiplier and a reduction to the VAT applied for hospitality venues.”

For more information or to arrange an interview contact [email protected] / 020 7627 9199

Notes to Editors:

  • The UK had 60,100 pubs in 2002, and has 45,300 in 2024, representing a roughly 25% decline.
  • Closures in 2023 were notably higher, proportionally, in Wales and Scotland, with both having roughly double the closure rate of England.
  • Closures in 2023 were higher than in both 2020 and 2021, the height of the pandemic’s impact on trading.

About the British Beer & Pub Association      
The BBPA represents businesses which between them brew over 90% of the beer sold in the UK and own 20,000 pubs.      
Our members include international companies, national and local brewers and pub businesses operating managed and tenanted pubs in cities, towns and villages across the country.       
These businesses are at the heart of communities and local economies and include family businesses who have been brewing beer and running pubs for hundreds of years alongside emerging brewers and pub operators.       

The UK’s beer and pub industry supports close to 940,000 jobs .

The industry adds £26.2billion to the UK’s economy each year.

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