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Closed pub in Mansfield
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750 British pubs could close in the first half of 2024

Energy bills, tax pressures and customers having less spare cash could apparently lead to a wave of closures

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly

Be it a trendy taproom or a classic, old-fashioned boozer, your local pub no doubt occupies a special place in your heart. But worryingly, apparently up to 750 of our beloved British pubs could be forced to close by the end of the first half of 2024. 

According to a statement from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), an unlucky combo of factors could cause problems for vast numbers of UK pubs. 

So why are pubs continuing to struggle? On the one hand, the BBPA says that running costs have risen by an estimated 43 percent since 2019 and that energy prices remain far too high. The association pointed towards a report from Frontier Economics that suggests energy bills are an enormous 300 percent higher than pre-pandemic levels. 

But that isn’t all. The BBPA also reckons that the government needs to help out pubs more, having scaled back its assistance earlier this year. A business rates hike of £12,000 is set to hit British boozers really hard, and a beer tax increase is also being predicted. 

On top of that, there’s the cost-of-living crisis, which continues to rear its ugly head and cause consumers to tighten their purse strings. A pint is just a bit too pricey for us to indulge in as often as we used to. 

Associate director of Frontier Economics Tim Black said: ‘While inflation rates have eased, costs and prices are not expected to fall back to earlier levels, and consumers continue to face very tight budgets.’

‘The sector is working to mitigate and adapt, but some business failure is inevitable.’

The BBPA is asking the Government to take immediate action by extending small business rates relief and rule out an increase in beer duty. The alternative, it says, is that 750 pubs close by the end of June 2024 – causing the loss of thousands of jobs and the gutting of countless communities. 

The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement is only three weeks away (on November 22), so we should a better idea of what the situation is then. Here’s to hoping the gov finds a way to keep any more precious British boozers from going bust. 

Time Out on pubs

Times are tight, but our splendid independent pubs deserve as much of our support as is possible. Have a browse of our list of the best pubs, or the most beautiful beer gardens across the country, or you can have a read about the UK’s most bonkers pub here

Did you see that these are the UK towns worst hit by street closures?

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