The number of net pub closures in the UK has risen from 26 to 28 per week, with leased and tenanted pubs accounting for 16 of those closures, according to figures from the latest CGA-CAMRA Pub Tracker.
The latest research, which covers the period of April-December 2013, suggests 57% of licensees tied to the big pub companies earn less than £10,000 a year.
Free-of-tie pubs accounted for 11 closures per week, while the report found that one managed pub a week was closing.
CAMRA pointed to the threat from conversion to supermarkets or betting shops, and the rate of duty charged on beer as two of the reasons for the increase in closures. It also said the figures supported the need for urgent action to address rents and beer prices charged by the large pub companies.
Mike Benner, CAMRA’s chief executive, said: “Pubs are unnecessarily closing as tied licensees struggle to make their businesses succeed thanks to increased rents and inflated beer prices. It is vital that the Government step in to redress the balance with the implementation of an independent Pubs Watchdog and an option for licensees of large pub companies to opt for market rent only agreements allowing them to buy beer on the open market at cheaper prices.
“It is currently possible to convert a pub into a betting shop, pay-day loan store or supermarket without the need for planning permission, making it far too easy for valued community pubs to be lost. We are pressing the Government to act to close this planning loophole.”
Last week over 5,000 CAMRA members contacted their MP to call for beer duty to be frozen in this year’s Budget. Benner said: “Britons pay the second highest rate of beer duty in the European Union which puts the pubs sector under pressure. We were delighted when the Chancellor cut beer duty in last year’s Budget and are urging him to build on this with a freeze or further reduction this year.”