Union warns of more pub closures
Union leaders have warned of fresh pub closures because of falling beer sales and rising rents.
The GMB said sales had "fallen off a cliff" last year, made worse by the increase in VAT, claiming that pubs were being priced out of the market.
National officer Paul Maloney said the difference between alcohol prices in pubs and supermarkets was wider than ever.
"Pubs are being priced out of the market and are closing as a result of rents being too high," he said. "The regulatory authorities have done nothing to save 'tied' tenants from market abuse by property companies that own pubs.
"Government talk about binge drinking completely misses the point that supermarkets are the source of much of the drink as beer sales in pubs are 38.9% down on the peak year of 2002."
Beer sales in pubs last year was down by 5.9%, compared with 0.28% for supermarkets, according to a report by the GMB.
The union said beer sales in pubs were falling every month and accused the Government of doing little or nothing to halt the decline.