No need to sound last orders

Most things which vanish from public life tend to do so because they have become obsolete and, as the old saying goes, you can't stand in the way of progress.

Wednesday, 20th September 2017, 10:41 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 11:32 am

But, we shouldn’t be completely blinded by the idea of progress especially when it comes to one of the greatest institutions of them all - the pub. We have long been aware of the demise of the boozer - I have lost count of the number of times I have written of the need for us to use or lose these very specials places. But now it seems, these monuments to the British way of life are as endangered as they have been at any time in living memory.

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Latest figures from Camra - you know them, the chaps (and ladies) who tend wear their faded prog rock T-shirts with pride while extolling the flavour and body of a pint they can’t see through - show that more than one third of pubs have been lost in the past four decades. Since the 1970s, when there were 75,000 pubs on these shores, 28,000 have shut their doors and, while some of those lost venues won’t be missed by anyone, there are many whose passing will be mourned. The Campaign for Real Ale, to give it its Sunday name, has used the publication of this latest sorry statistic as a stick to beat the Government with, and warns more will close if drastic changes aren’t made soon. Ahead of November’s Budget, Camra is calling on Chancellor Philip Hammond to give every pub in the country a £5,000 business rates reduction after pointing out landlords and owners are hit disproportionately hard by this tax.

Taxation accounts for one third of the cost of every pint, which is one of the reasons why, in some parts of the country, the ‘usual’ will set you back £4. You could argue the British pub is a bit like Theresa May, horribly beleaguered but still here, against all the odds. But unlike our Prime Minister, there does seem something of a future for the future of licensed premises in this country. Call it wishful thinking but I think it very unlikely the local pub will go the way of the video recorder or phone box and disappear in my lifetime. There are some things technology will never replace.