CAMRA calls for government action as 290 pubs demolished or converted in 2021

The Staff Canteen

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has called on the government for support after it discovered that an average of over five pubs a week were demolished or converted in 2021, totalling a loss of 290 pubs

While CAMRA's research showed an increase of new pubs in the latter half of the year with the average being just over seven a week, more than five hundred pubs were classed as 'long-term closures' over the course of 2021 - meaning they are still registered as a pub for planning purposes but there is no business trading on the premises. 

While these figures show some amount of encouraging news about new openings in 2021, CAMRA chairman Nik Antona told The Morning Advertiser: "There is still a big problem with pub businesses not reopening after the pandemic."

Along with that, he said: “With the cost of living crisis affecting consumers, and the cost of business crisis facing our pubs, brewers and cider makers, we are really concerned that this positive news from our 2021 figures will turn into a nightmare report for 2022."

Requests from CAMRA

CAMRA has outlined the measures it believes the government should take to help British pubs, including an immediate cut in VAT for on-trade food and drink sales and the retention of duty exemption for small-scale cider producers - those that make under 70 hectolitres (7,000 litres) a year. 

The trade association also called for the government to bring forth an online sales tax to relieve the burden on the sector; for the Statutory Pubs Code Review to include more tied tenants within its review, and for the government to bring forward the introduction of the new draught duty rate for beer and cider containers of 20 litres or more. 

Arguing for the measures, Nik stressed the importance of public houses to the local community. He said: “Pubs are not only vital employers, but they are key to community life up and down the country – bringing people together and tackling loneliness and social isolation.”

Positivity on the horizon 

Despite the worrying research from CAMRA, there are still reasons to feel positively about hospitality's recovery: figures released by the savings site VoucherCodes suggest that British consumers are predicted to spend £1bn on eating out over the bank holiday weekend, with a further £0.95bn spent on drinks and another £0.95bn on takeaways, making it one of the most fruitful weekends of the year.

This data is confirmed by the latest quarterly Barclays SME Barometer, which predicts that independent pubs, bars and restaurants are likely to experience a £76m boost across the Jubilee bank holiday weekend.

The government also confirmed on April 25th that pubs, clubs and bars will have extended licensing hours, from the normal 11pm closing time to 1am the following day, valid from Thursday 2nd through Saturday 4th June 2022.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 31st May 2022

CAMRA calls for government action as 290 pubs demolished or converted in 2021