More than two pubs a day closed in the first half of 2023, according to new figures from commercial real estate analyst Altus Group.
Some 383 pubs closed in the six months from January to July. The total for the whole of 2022 was 386.
It is thought more closures will surely follow if chancellor Jeremy Hunt goes ahead with ending a discount on business rates at the end of March.
“These new figures are shocking, if not surprising, as our locals continue to face rising costs, sky high energy bills, unfair business rates, and customers tightening their belts,” said Nik Antona, chair of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).
“If we are to save more of our beloved pubs and social clubs from being lost as community hubs, then we desperately need the chancellor to use the Autumn Statement in November to extend help for licensees with business rates, which is due to end in April next year.
“Governments across the UK also need to reform and replace the deeply unfair business rates systems to give pubs a fighting chance of surviving and thriving.”
He added: “On the back of the Crooked House affair, we are also calling on the Westminster government to strengthen planning laws to make sure councils in England can protect pubs and require them to be converted back to their original use — or rebuilt brick by brick — if they are unlawfully converted or demolished.
“The government’s plans for high street rental auctions to get high street premises in England back into use also needs to exclude converting high street pubs to other uses.
“The Welsh government urgently needs to introduce protections for pubs in the planning system where there are currently none, so that local people can have a fighting chance of saving their pub from being demolished or converted into the likes of a shop, housing, or a takeaway.”