Nearly 40 pubs a month closing, latest data reveals


Around 37 pubs a month vanished permanently from England and Wales during 2020 – although the figure was actually 6% fewer than the previous year despite the pandemic. 

Analysis of official government data by real estate adviser Altus Group shows that the overall number of pubs in England and Wales, liable for business rates, including those vacant and being offered to let, fell to 40,617 on 31 December 2020, down 446 compared with 41,063 the year before.

Pubs that have disappeared from the communities they once served have either been demolished and/or converted into other types such as homes and offices with the rate also down 51% on the 914 in 2018.

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England & Wales Pub Numbers Pubs Lost
31st December 2017 42,450
31st December 2018 41,536 914
31st December 2019 41,063 473
31st December 2020 40,617 446
Source: real estate adviser, Altus Group

Pubs in England and Wales are receiving a one-year business rates holiday worth £768.1m and were eligible for £557.94m in grant funding worth either £10,000 or £25,000 per pub at the start of the pandemic last spring.

Robert Hayton, head of property tax at Altus Group, said “Pubs and restaurants bore the brunt of coronavirus restrictions in 2020 but proved remarkably resilient aided by government interventions such as furlough, grants, rates relief and liquidity in the form of cheap loans.”

Last week the Treasury said that one-off top up grants again linked to business rates would be provided to help closed retail, leisure and hospitality businesses negate the economic impact of the third national lockdown.

Payments of £4,000 will be available for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or less, £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000, and £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of more than £51,000.

Mr Hayton says the top-up grants for pubs will provide an additional £239.1m in support: “We warned of a rent debt crisis without increased levels of targeted support and this additional funding will ease those fears. The Chancellor should be commended for the swift action he took.”

Council Pubs Support £ 
Cornwall Council (Unitary) 593 £3,398,000
Westminster City Council 379 £3,188,000
Leeds City Council 467 £2,865,000
Liverpool City Council 452 £2,775,000
Wiltshire Council (Unitary) 475 £2,548,000
Birmingham City Council 384 £2,539,000
Manchester City Council 371 £2,404,000
Sheffield City Council 400 £2,402,000
Shropshire Council (Unitary) 422 £2,288,000
Durham County Council 442 £2,225,000
Source: real estate adviser, Altus Group

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Andrew Seymour

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