THE NUMBER of pubs closing every week has remained at around 18 amid evidence more people are choosing to drink at home, according to a new report.
There were 476 closures in the first six months of the year across the UK, 13 more than in the last six months of 2017, said the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).
There were more than 60 pub closures a week in the south east and north west this year, with more than 50 in greater London and the south west.
Camra also reported that four out of five people had experienced a local pub closure in the past five years.
A survey of more than 2,000 adults found that one in five had seen five or more local pubs close.
Camra said the figures highlighted the ‘huge obstacles’ facing pubs including the beer duty, business rates and VAT.
Camra's chairman Jackie Parker said the findings painted a ‘dismal picture’ for pubs, adding: ‘As taxes continue to rise, more people are choosing to drink at home and as a consequence, pubs are closing down.
‘It's a vicious cycle. Pub closures make us all poorer by reducing overall tax revenues raised by the pub sector and weakening community life in areas where valued pubs close.
‘Fundamental change is needed if the British pub is to survive for future generations. We are urging the Government to take action to secure the future of our pubs by relieving the tax burden.’
The report was published on the first day of Camra's Great British Beer Festival in London.
A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesman said: ‘Pubs are at the heart of local communities up and down the country, and we want to see them thrive.
‘That's why we have introduced measures to protect pubs through the planning system and the More Than a Pub programme that helps communities to own and keep their local pub.
‘We've also given eligible pubs a £1,000 business rates discount, and are extending this for another year.’