Approximately 400 pubs closed across England and Wales during the initial half of 2023, as indicated by recent statistics.
As of 30 June 2023, 39,404 pubs either closed or the leases became available. In the second quarter of this year, the rate of pub closures escalated to approximately 77 closures per month, representing a 50% increase from the 51 monthly closures witnessed in the first quarter of 2023.
According to Altus Group's pub tracker, from 1 January to 30 June 2023, a total of 383 pubs went through changes and stopped serving their communities. These changes included demolition or property conversions changing the use from a pub to residential dwellings, offices or childcare settings. This is slightly fewer than the 386 pubs that were lost in all of 2022, based on the data.
Wales saw the highest number of pub closures during the initial half of this year, with 52 pubs shutting their doors. In a parallel trend, both the London and North West regions also witnessed 46 pubs ceasing operations over the same period. Altus Group has cautioned that impending tax hikes may exacerbate the rate of pub closures.
Currently, pubs, leisure facilities, and retail businesses get a 75% discount on their business rates bills for the 2023/2024 tax year, with a maximum cap of £110,000 per business. However, this discount will end on 31 March next year. Additionally, business rates may go up in April 2024, matching the September headline inflation rate, which could mean more than a 6% increase in bills for the next year, as warned.
Alex Probyn, President of Property Tax at Altus Group, commented:
"With energy costs up 80% year-on-year in a low-growth, high-inflation and high interest rates environment, the last thing pubs need is an average business rates hike of £12,385 next year."