Pub closure rates have slowed from 16 to 12 per week, according to latest figures from CGA issued by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). Suburban pubs are closing at a net rate of eight per week, compared to four per week among rural pubs, in the six months to March 2012. More than 300 pubs permanently closed during the period, CAMRA said, with the worst hit regions including Lancashire, which lost 68 pubs, net of openings, and the West Midlands, where 37 closed, also net of new openings. The figures represent a slowing of the closure rate, with 16 net closures reported in a previous survey covering September to March. The timings of the two surveys mean there is some overlap. CAMRA is using the latest figures to argue for a cut in beer tax, and revealed that 33,000 people have signed its e-petition to end the duty rises. CAMRA’s research shows 73% of regular pub goers support a freeze in beer duty. Mike Benner, CAMRA chief executive, said: “Whether situated in a small village, city high street, or on the edge of a housing estate, pubs are so central to our society that whole communities can grow around a particular pub. A threat to the future of traditional pubs is therefore also a threat to countless social groups within Britain that thrive because of their local. “Unsustainable beer tax increases by the Government are ripping the heart out of community centres, but with over 33,000 consumers having recently signed the beer tax e-petition, beer drinkers and pub goers are actively voicing their discontent. CAMRA is now campaigning to secure 100,000 signatures, which would force Parliament to debate above inflation rises in beer duty.” Other areas with comparatively high net closure rates include West Yorkshire (-21), Derbyshire (-20), Surrey (-18) and South Yorkshire (-17). Forty three pubs closed in London, although the region has a high density of sites. However, a number of regions saw an increase in net openings, with the number of new pubs exceeding closures. For example, Nottinghamshire (+15), Merseyside (+15), Cambridgeshire (+14) and West Sussex (+10).