The British Beer & Pub Association has released estimates to show that pubs closed at a rate of 52 per week in the first half of 2009 – a 33% increase on the same period last year with the blame being allocated to the recession, the smoking ban, tax rises on alcohol and regulatory burdens.
Local pubs were the most vulnerable as communities were hit by the fallout of the economic downturn but the research suggested businesses that provided food were far more resilient to the recession and theme pubs and cafe-style bars were actually opening at a rate of two a week.
Earlier this week, Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland and Labour's Lynne Jones tabled a motion in the House of Commons, urging their colleagues to "support their local pubs" saying that the pub industry was "hugely important to the British tourist trade".
The rate of closures was the fastest since closure records began in 1990 and the number of pubs in the UK has dropped to a total of 53,466 (2,777 less than last year) with a loss of 24,000 jobs.
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