Three out of four Scottish drinkers believe the trend of pub closures is set to continue over the next 10 years, new research shows. The research by Molson Coors found that between 2007 and 2012, 703 community pubs closed in Scotland, with only 55 opening. Two or more community pubs have been lost from 67 of the 73 Scottish constituencies, with Argyll and Bute losing 42 pubs. It also found that 32% of Scots visit their local pub at least twice a month, with 41% of Scottish men believing it’s important to have a pub within walking distance of their home. Phil Whitehead, managing director of Molson Coors Scotland, argues in the report for the Scottish Government to lobby Westminster to end the duty escalator. He also calls for the business rates system to be simplified and licensing reformed so first-time pub operators are not discouraged from opening their first site. He said: “Local pubs have long been a corner stone of Scottish communities, and provide people with a great place to meet and socialise. It’s fantastic to see in this report that the public recognise the key role played by their ‘local’ in the community. This support and seeing more younger people and women visiting pubs will help pull them through times that are challenging for all businesses. “Our experience at Molson Coors has shown that by helping smaller drinking establishments continue to provide a traditional service and a great atmosphere for all customers, makes a big difference.” Kenny MacAskill, Cabinet Secretary for Justice at the Scottish Government, is also quoted in the report saying: “From the cosy pubs at the heart of rural communities to the bigger venues in our towns and cities that serve thousands of people every month, pubs are an important part of Scottish life. For hundreds of years, people have used them to enjoy a drink and a chat with their friends, and we all want to see that continue. “The Scottish Government values the licensed trade in Scotland, and supports responsible drinking. I look forward to considering the findings of this report that Molson Coors has commissioned, and encourage everyone to recognise the value of their local pubs, restaurants and hotels, which are important parts of our communities.” The report, Local Pub: Local Hub? The future of the Scottish community pub, also says that the traditional ‘local’ is becoming more female-friendly, with more than half of women now visiting pubs. The most frequent visitors are younger customers aged 24-44, 24% of whom visit pubs at least once a fortnight. Retired people are the least likely to visit; 16% are regulars and 50% don't visit at all. In total 1,000 consumers were interviewed for the survey, and the pub closure figures come from CGA.