Drink up gentlemen - time called on one-in-8 pubs
Christ, it really is the end of the world.
Forget the mile-high utility bills, the price of vegetables and the collapse of economies around the world - you know the four horsemen are saddling up when doomsayers predict the closure of your local. Not just one or two of them either; Oxford Economics predict that one in 8 UK pubs could shut for good.
Folk at the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) are understandably upset (as we all are, naturally) and have written to the Chancellor Alistair Darling calling on him to ditch his plans to increase excise duty on beer by 2% above the rate of inflation for the next 4 years.
Oxford Economics predict that the proposed beer tax increase will result in the loss of 43,000 jobs by 2012 and the reduction of 13m barrels of beer sales, and that Government tax revenues will drop as people switch from pubs to supermarkets for their alcohol. With all things considered - increased taxes, the smoking ban, the economic downturn and the below-cost supermarket sales of alcohol - CAMRA say the future looks far from rosy .
Of course, the country could gladly lose one in 8 pubs, so long as they're the right pubs; there are plenty of backwater boozers as dark as pitch that look like they've been kicked down a hill, where thugs in football shirts serve of pints of piss-weak domestic lager mixed with line fluid. Feel free to bulldoze those fellas.