Trade association UKHospitality has urged the government to support businesses in the pub industry as increasing costs threaten investment and jobs.
The trade association’s statement follows a report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), ‘Economies of Ale’, which outlines the changes to the UK’s pub industry.
The report noted that, over the last decade, more than 11,000 pubs in the UK have been closed, showing a 23% decline.
According to the ONS data, the number of pubs declined from 50,000 in 2008 to around 39,000 this year.
The report also outlined that small pub chains are closing businesses, while major pub chains are consolidating their businesses to survive.
UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said: “Looking at this data, it is clear that pubs are facing challenges, but that they are also crucial providers of jobs around the UK. The new report underlines the need for support from the government to ensure that vital businesses are not squeezed further.
“Almost one-quarter of pubs have closed since 2008 and, with costs continuing to increase, many of them are unlikely to ever reopen.
“Turnover has also remained stagnant for the sector since the recession and is significantly lower than the pre-recession high, despite customer spend remaining relatively stable. This is a sure sign that costs are continuing to increase, and margins squeezed as a result.”
However, the total turnover of pubs and bars in the UK remained flat since 2008 irrespective of the increase in the number of closures.
The study also identified a 6% increase in the number of jobs in the industry, compared to the jobs in 2008, with a major contribution coming from bigger pubs.
Nicholls added: “The number of people working in pubs is back to pre-recession levels, but this will be under threat if costs continue to rise.
“This year’s UKHospitality Christie & Co Benchmarking Report showed costs for the sector at 52.5% of turnover, the highest in the 12-year history of the report.
“The new report from the ONS is another reminder that, despite the best efforts of the sector to provide jobs, unless rising costs are addressed, pubs will continue to close.”