Quarter of UK pubs closed since 2008

One of York’s newest pubs – the House of Trembling Madness on Lendal

Almost a quarter of the pubs in Britain have closed over the past decade, according to data released on Monday from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This was largely driven by rural pubs, where employment was up 24%, whereas hiring at urban pubs was down 2%.

Pubs are disappearing at an alarming rate in the United Kingdom - but not in York.

There are also far fewer pubs in areas around Manchester, such as Rochdale, where there are now a net 105 fewer pubs than in 2001.

ONS analysis shows that it's small pubs that are disappearing, as the big pub chains consolidate their businesses around bigger bars.

However, despite the loss of more than 11,000 pubs in 10 years, there are now 6% more jobs in pubs than there were in 2008.

The areas where pub numbers have held up - or even increased - include several popular tourist areas.

The largest increases have been in bigger pubs (those with 10 or more employees). Masses of pubs have closed, but other pubs and bars have stepped in to serve their customers.

York’s only Viking bar Valhalla opened in 2017 York has more bars than most – and that number is increasing
York’s only Viking bar Valhalla opened in 2017 York has more bars than most – and that number is increasing

The figures provide the latest snapshot in the well-documented decline of the British pub, as a combination of shifting consumer habits, higher drinks prices and a squeeze on household finances have damaged the industry.

Research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that while the number of pubs has shrunk from roughly 50,000 in 2008 to 39,000 in 2018, the number of employees has risen six per cent.

"The large "pubcos" (nationwide companies with 250 or more outlets) have nearly completely abandoned small pubs, disposing of lots of them in the early 2000s, concentrating instead on their bigger bars", it added.

That said, the vast majority are failing to pay their staff the Living Wage, which now stands at £10.55 per hour in London and £9 per hour elsewhere. This rate, now £10.55 per hour in London and £9 per hour elsewhere, is sometimes called the "real" living wage, and is based upon full-time workers being able to afford a basic set of goods and services.

Birmingham has suffered the biggest rate of closure since the turn of the millennium, with 220 net pub losses since 2001.

The number of smaller establishments across the United Kingdom has crashed since 2001 - from 38,830 to 22,840 - a decline of 41.2pc.

Nationally the total turnover of pubs has remained stable as fewer, bigger pubs do more business.

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