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Pub closure rate halves as communities fight back Data suggests government action on business rates and development may be working - The Guardian

@ByRobDavies

Mon 22 Jul 2019 15.17 BSTLast modified on Mon 22 Jul 2019 20.25 BST

The rate at which pubs are disappearing in England and Wales has halved, prompting claims that government measures designed to arrest the decline may be stemming the tide of closures.

About 13,000 closed between 2001 and 2018, which the industry has blamed on factors including high business rates, cheap supermarket alcohol, the rising minimum wage, the smoking ban and changing social habits.

But government figures indicate that, while the decline has continued, the speed at which pubs are closing their doors for good has slowed considerably. Some experts have attributed this to measures that make it easier for communities to oppose developers’ plans to demolish or convert pubs, as well as relief on business rates.

There were 42,450 pubs at the beginning of 2018 but 914 fewer by the end of the year, a rate of 76 net closures a month. But 235 vanished during the first half of this year, or nearly 40 a month, according to government statistics.

The commercial real estate consultancy Altus Group, which compiled the data, said government measures designed to staunch the flow of pub closures appeared to be having some effect.

Pete Schonbeck