The UK’s Pub Crisis Grows

Rising costs are threatening one of the United Kingdom’s most beloved institutions…the village pub…a report that was cause for serious concern.

Here’s the deal…

England’s Office for National Statistics (ONS), just issued a report called the Economies of Ale, which analyzes the performance of the UK’s pub sector since 2001 and to call its findings alarming is an understatement.

One In Four Pubs Has Closed Since 2008

The number of pubs operating in the UK has fallen from around 50,000 in 2008 to roughly 39,000 a decade later, and  the Drinks Business notes  that the “rate of decline has slowed in recent months” and is still in a “downward trajectory.”

Birmingham, the second biggest city in the UK suffered the biggest rate of closure since the turn of the millennium, with 220 pub closings since 2001. On the other hand, pubs in the London borough of Hackney, have benefitted from the UK’s craft beer boom, with 30 net new openings in the past 18 years.

Small Pubs More Vulnerable

Small pubs, those defined by the ONS as those with fewer than 10 members of staff, are closing at a much faster rate than larger operations. More than 12,000 small pubs have closed since 2001.

Although the vast majority of pubs in the United Kingdom employ a staff of fewer than 10, the Economies of Ale did note that medium-sized pubs are performing particularly well, with their number nearly doubling in 18 years.

Meanwhile the number of large pubs, has tripled in the same period which some analysts explain as the larger operations simply picking up the slack from the smaller venue closings.

Pub Employment Rises But Salaries Remain Low

According to the ONS, this is a good news/bad news situation.

The good news is that the number of jobs in the pub industry has recovered from the UK’s 2008 financial crash. There are now 5,000 more people employed by pubs in the United Kingdom than there were at the turn of the millennium. United Kingdom’s.

The bad news is that in spite of rising number, more than 70% of those employed receive what the country considers a Living Wage, which currently stands at £10.55 per hour in London and £9 per hour elsewhere.

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The Clash London Calling image credit: Epic Records

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