Pubs closing at rate of 18 a week as people stay at home

Pubs are continuing to struggle with 18 closing a week in Britain, according to the latest industry figures.

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) said there were 476 closures in the first six months of the year, 13 more than in the last six months of 2017.

Camra's chairman Jackie Parker said the high cost of drinking out meant more people were choosing to drink at home.

Four out of five people had seen a pub shut down within five miles of their home in the last five years, it said.

Camra, which campaigns on behalf of pubs and breweries, said tax rises had added to pressure on the industry.

"Pubs are struggling under a triple whammy of high Beer Duty, rapidly rising Business Rates and VAT. As a result, a third of the cost of a pint is now made up of various taxes," the statement added.

Young people are also consuming less alcohol, with 16 to 24-year-olds less likely to drink than any other age group.

Closure figures

The hardest hit areas include the North West and South East of England, both of which saw more than 60 pub closures in the first half of the year.

Greater London and the South West of England each saw more than 50 closures.

Camra said on Monday that most people believe the price of a pint of beer in a pub is unaffordable.

It said its survey of over 2,000 adults found that only one in four said prices were about right.

According to Camra, pubs contribute £23.1bn to the UK economy each year.

Ms Parker said that people were naturally looking to "more cost-effective ways to enjoy a drink, such as buying from off-licences and supermarkets for home consumption".

"The result is incredibly detrimental to our local communities and to our own personal connectivity. Having a good local makes people happier, better-connected and more trusting," she added.

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