Britain now has more than 3,000 fewer licensed restaurants, pubs and bars than it did 12 months ago, new data claims.
The decline represents a fall of 2.5% year-on-year and is the equivalent of eight premises closing each day.
The figures were revealed by market insight firm CGA and prompted the UK’s largest industry trade body, UKHospitality, to call on Teresa May to intervene.
It warned that unless the government unveils a comprehensive package of support for hospitality businesses at the Budget Statement, the rate of closures will only increase.
UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “The perfect storm of cost pressures presented by ever-increasing business rates and wage costs continues to batter the hospitality sector. Despite promises from the government to reform business rates, pubs, restaurants and bars are still forced to operate within an unfair system that favours digital businesses above those at the heart of communities.
“With Brexit a little over six months away, it is crucial that the government provides the sector with the support it needs and that has been repeatedly promised. UKHospitality will be hammering home the message ahead of the budget that, unless support is provided, the rate of closures will only increase,” she added.
UKHospitality was established following a merger between the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and the British Hospitality Association (BHA) in February 2018.
It serves as the voice for more than 700 companies, operating around 65,000 venues.