Pubs - is the worst finally over for them?
This recession has totally shagged the British pub industry. The big figure has been that 52 pubs have closed per week. That's a staggering and, quite frankly, shitty amount of boozers to lose.
However, after relentless gloom ladling, here's something a little more cheerful. Last week, a report came out saying that beer sales are finally getting better. These sales are far from brilliant, but progress is progress. So is it time to be cautiously optimistic for British pubs?
The Publican reported yesterday that pub performance is improving. Naturally, the first lot to show signs of recovery are the big chain pubs. However, this news was followed by new data compiled for the British Beer and Pub Association by CGA Strategy, showing that the second half of 2009 saw 39 pubs closing per week. It's still crap, but it's definitely not as crap as it was, meaning that things could be getting better for our ale houses.
A total of 2,365 pubs closed during 2009, leaving us with 52,500 in Britain. What this transpires to is a loss of over £250 million in tax revenues this year, if the current closure level continues. There's a whole lot of people losing their jobs too, which is something that news outlets seems less keen on reporting.
However, the BBPA is warning the Government that they should be looking at way to help pubs out to avoid intensifying problems. The tax burden remains the biggest issue, and the government is apparently planning another above inflation increase in Beer Tax in the forthcoming Budget.
This increase in the complexity and cost of running a pub is ensuring that our 'free houses' are suffering more than any other pub. These closures have lead to a group forming called Back The Pub which is a campaign which hopes to bring together all those with an interest in supporting and promoting the British pub.
While it seems that things are a long way from being sorted, things are certainly looking up for the British pub. Now, who fancies a scoop?