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Last orders for struggling pubs

PUBLISHED: 13:30 30 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:55 23 August 2010

FIFTY-TWO pubs across Britain are closing every week according to latest figures, but the president of a licencees group fears it could rise even higher. The latest survey carried out for the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) reveals the rate of p

FIFTY-TWO pubs across Britain are closing every week according to latest figures, but the president of a licencees' group fears it could rise even higher.

The latest survey carried out for the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) reveals the rate of pub closures for the first six months of 2009 is up by 33 per cent compared to the second half of 2008, when 39 pubs were closing every week.

The association said over the last 12 months 2,377 pubs have closed with the worsening trend leading to the loss of 24,000 jobs.

Tony Hayes, 43, the president of the Gravesham Licensed Victuallers Association and also landlord of The Alma, in High Street, Swanscombe, said: "It is shocking to hear these figures.

"One of the big problems is supermarkets selling cheap alcohol, but we also have the high taxes and duty on beer, the expensive fees for a licence, even the cost of having music in pubs, it is a lot of money and landlords can't cope.

"It's like the government is hitting the pub trade more than anyone else.

"The small community pubs could continue to struggle, even the town pubs who have to compete with the larger chains like Wetherspoon's.

"We need more support from government, and I also think more support from banks."

The Reporter revealed in March that north Kent landlords say a combination of factors have affected the pubs, including the smoking ban and tax increases.

Selwyn Lambert, the former landlord of the Queen's Head, in The Hill, Northfleet, claimed he was crippled by his rent and saw takings drop drastically.

BBPA chief executive David Long said: "The recession is proving extremely tough for British pubs. However, those economic pressures have been made much worse by a government that has continued to pile on tax and regualtory burdens.

"The last two budgets have seen a 20 per cent increase in beer tax, which alone has added more than £600 million to our tax bill.

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