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Pub Closures Set To Accelerate Unless Business Rate Relief Extended

“With energy costs up 80% year-on-year in a low-growth, high-inflation and high-interest-rate environment, the last thing pubs need is an average business rates hike of £12,385 next year.”
Alex Robyn - Altus group
A total of 383 pubs closed during the first six months of the year, almost matching the total for 2022, when 386 sites were lost.

The data, from real estate analysts Altus Group, tracks the overall number of pubs in England and Wales, including those vacant or being offered to let.

An average of 51 pubs a month were lost during the first quarter of the year, rising to around 77 a month between April and June. These sites were either demolished or converted for different uses, such as homes, offices or nurseries.

During the first six months of the year Wales lost the greatest number of pubs with 52 vanishing, while both the London and North West regions lost 46 pubs each.

There were 39,404 pubs remaining at the end of June, down from 39,787 at the end of 2022.

Alex Probyn, president of property tax at Altus Group, warned more venues would be lost unless the chancellor extended business rates relief beyond its spring cut-off point.

Pubs, like eligible hospitality, leisure and retail businesses, get a 75% discount off their business rates bills for the 2023/2024 tax year up to a cap of £110,00 per business.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced the scheme during his 2022 autumn statement, but it is set to end on 31 March 2024.

Business rates are also set to rise next April in line with September's headline rate of inflation, which Altus Group warned could also add more than 6% to bills next year.

Chancellor, JeremyHunt announced the £2.1bn relief scheme at his autumn statement in November 2022, but the discount is scheduled to end in March 2024. The effect of the relief being phased out will be exacerbated by a scheduled rise in the headline business rates in line with inflation, an increase set to take effect in April next year. This could add 6% to bills, Altus Group said, calling on Hunt to continue rate relief beyond March next year.