Belfast Telegraph

Pubs closing at the rate of 21 a week with high beer prices to blame, says Camra

Pubs are being forced to close because of expensive rents, high beer prices charged by large pub-owning companies and cheap booze in supermarkets, says a report.

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) said a survey of 2,000 adults backed up its belief that beer taxes and rents were too high, warning that a pint in a local was becoming an "unaffordable luxury".

More than four out of five of those polled said the cheaper price of alcohol in supermarkets was impacting on pub closures.

A similar number blamed high rents and wholesale beer prices charged to tenants by pub-owning property companies.

The number of pubs closing every week has fallen from 27 to 21 over the past year, but Camra said the rate was still "alarming".

Camra chairman Colin Valentine said: " We've long campaigned for a fairer deal for publicans from the property companies which own their pubs and have seen recent success in the introduction of the Pubs Code and the appointment of a Pubs Code Adjudicator.

"People clearly agree with us that the level of tax charged on beer and on pubs is too high and needs to be addressed.

"Camra and the beer and pub industry has seen some success in persuading the government to abolish the beer duty escalator and cut tax over the last few years, but ministers need to go further in supporting the industry.

"Despite these campaign wins, a pint in a local is becoming an unaffordable luxury, driving people away from the safe and social environment of the pub and encouraging them instead to drink cheap alcohol in their homes.

"We'd urge the Government to continue to work to address what people see as the key issues threatening pubs."

A Treasury spokesman said: "This Government has been a cheerleader for the British pub industry and because of our action to cut beer duty and end the beer duty escalator, over 19,000 jobs in the industry and 1,000 pubs have been saved.

"A typical pint of beer is now 10 pence lower than it would have been and an estimated 75% of pubs stand to save hundreds of pounds per year as a result of the changes made to business rates."

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