Pubs are now closing at the rate of five a day — up 33% on last year as the credit crunch and Government enforced duty rises take its toll on the industry New figures for the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) by consultants CGA, reveal that 36 pubs a week are now closing. Last year’s figures showed 27 a week were closing — a total of 1,409 closed during the year. Pubs are now closing nine times faster than in 2006 and 18 times faster than in 2005. BBPA chief executive Rob Hayward said: “These numbers are a stark illustration of the pressures on the pub sector. “Economic stresses and strains are being felt by every household across the country and acutely by Britain’s public houses. “Sliding consumer confidence and spiralling inflation are hitting pubs in two ways. Not only are the costs of running a pub increasing, but fewer people through the door means less cash in the tills. “Despite this, the Government seems intent on increasing the burden on pubs. Its current proposals to target pubs with a raft of new red tape such as statutory codes of conduct and ratchet up taxes with its beer duty escalator will only make matters worse. “Such policies will only drive up costs for pubs and prices for punters. Government needs to wake up to what’s happening in the real world of the pub.” On-trade beer sales are now at their lowest level since the Great Depression of the 1930s and industry experts have predicted the off-trade will be the biggest retailer of beer within 12 months as supermarkets continue to heavily discount alcohol. Hayward added: “Thousands of much loved community pubs are under threat. They are at the heart of every community and a major tourist draw for Britain. Without a change of heart from the Government, many more are facing closure. “With so many pubs in peril, the Government’s threat of further stealth taxes on beer cannot go unanswered. And with food and fuel prices rocketing, this is a terrible time to be hitting pubgoers with more taxes.