REVEALED: Preston has lost 1 in 10 of its pubs since 2010

Preston has lost more than one in 10 of its pubs since 2010, according to official figures.

Sunday, 5th August 2018, 8:22 pm
Updated Monday, 6th August 2018, 1:58 pm

The figures from the Office for National Statistics show that in 2010 there were 90 pubs and bars in the city, but by 2017 that had fallen to 80.

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Pear Tree landlord: ‘We are going out with a bang’

But it’s not just the city losing itswatering holes.A well-known Bamber Bridge pub is the latest casualty.

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The Pear Tree has announced that it is closing its doors after being sold by owner Enterprise Inns.

Pear Tree landlord Michael Hopkins, who has been tenant there for around two years, was recently told the devastating news that the pub had been sold and he would have to move out of the Station Road premises.

His seven staff have also lost their jobs as a result of the decision.

“It just came out of the blue,” he said. “The brewery has sold the pub.

“All I know is that it will be a restaurant of some sort.

“It was a real shock - I will have to find somewhere else to live now.

The news comes as an alarming 25 pubs are closing in Britain every week.

Now the Chancellor has been urged to take action to save the industry in his November budget.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that in 2010 there were 90 pubs and bars in Preston but by 2017 that had fallen to 80.

Across the UK 5,745 pubs closed over the period, and there are 54 local authorities where 30 or more shut.

Pubs have been pointing the finger of blame at the taxman for their troubles, complaining about the duty on beer, VAT levels and the cost of business rates.

Britain’s Beer Alliance, a group of organisations in the pub and brewing sector, has started a campaign called Long Live the Local with a petition and calls for people to write to their MP to have beer duty reduced.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “We are calling on the Government to cut beer duty in the upcoming November budget.

“Seven in 10 alcoholic drinks sold in a pub are beer, so cutting beer duty is the most direct way of helping pubs.

“This is why we are backing the Long Live the Local campaign to cut beer tax.”

David Shuttleworth, vice president at the Altus Group, the independent advisory service to the global commercial real estate industry. said: “The sad reality is that more pubs will continue to call time unless further financial support is provided by the Government.

“The Chancellor should be bold within his autumn Budget later in the year by giving pubs a helping hand through an unprecedented stimulus of freezing rate rises in April 2019 whilst increasing the pub discount.”

A spokesman for the Treasury said: “Ninety per cent of pubs across the country can benefit from the business rates relief introduced at Budget 2017, which could save them up to £1,000 a year.

“In addition, both businesses and their customers have saved around £3 billion since 2013 thanks to changes to alcohol duty.”

The latest data from the ONS shows that between 2016 and 2017, 655 pubs and bars across the UK called time for the last time.

CAMRA, the campaign for real ale, said that pubs play a vital role in communities.

Tom Stainer, the chief communications officer, said: “In many areas and villages, they provide the last remaining public meeting space, with meeting halls and post offices already lost.

“They also create jobs and bring money into local areas, which tend to be spent in the local area, as compared to large chain cafes.

“Many pubs help to support the night time economy in town centres and create safer communities after nightfall.”

Mark Whittle, manager of Preston Business Improvement District, said: “The smoking ban introduced back in 2007 signalled a shockwave for traditional pubs.

“Since then, the rising costs levied against the sector, and businesses at large, has proved to be a critical challenge.

“Whilst traditional pubs do continue to trade well in many towns and cities, they have adapted and evolved to meet the demands of their patrons. Real and craft ales are more popular now than ever, providing a strong customer base.

“We would always advocate spending locally –there are some outstanding outlets in Preston, and new ones opening. Done right, there’s a strong future for the trade.”