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3rd March 2014

CAMRA urges swift action to support pubs as closures rise to 28 a week

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is pressing the Government to act now to help save pubs by:

  • Pressing ahead with plans for a Pubs Watchdog to protect licensees from high rents and beer prices charged by large pub companies
  • Closing planning loopholes to ensure pubs cannot be lost without planning permission being sought
  • Freezing the rate of beer duty in next month’s Budget

The latest CGA-CAMRA Pub Tracker, covering the period of April-December 2013, shows that the number of net pub closures in the UK has risen from 26 to 28 per week– showing that much more needs to be done to protect pubs.

This disappointing increase in pub closures comes as CAMRA is calling on the Government to press ahead with plans for a Pubs Watchdog to ensure a fair power balance between the large pub companies and their licensees.

The tied pub model has come under increased criticism as recent research suggests a shocking 57% of licensees tied to the big pub companies earn less than £10,000 a year*. The latest closure figures show that leased and tenanted pubs account for 16 of the 28 pub closures occurring every week, supporting the need for urgent action to address rents and beer prices charged by the large pub companies.

“Pubs are unnecessarily closing as tied licensees struggle to make their businesses succeed thanks to increased rents and inflated beer prices. It is vital that the Government step in to redress the balance with the implementation of an independent Pubs Watchdog and an option for licensees of large pub companies to opt for market rent only agreements allowing them to buy beer on the open market at cheaper prices.” Mike Benner, CAMRA’s Chief Executive.

But there are other reasons that pubs are shutting, including the threat from conversion to supermarkets or betting shops, something which CAMRA say also needs to be addressed:

“It is currently possible to convert a pub into a betting shop, pay-day loan store or supermarket without the need for planning permission, making it far too easy for valued community pubs to be lost. We are pressing the Government to act to close this planning loophole.”

A further reason for pub closures is the rate of duty charged on beer. Last week over 5,000 CAMRA members contacted their MP to call for beer duty to be frozen in this year’s Budget.  Mike Benner concluded: “Britons pay the second highest rate of beer duty in the European Union which puts the pubs sector under pressure. We were delighted when the Chancellor cut beer duty in last year’s Budget and are urging him to build on this with a freeze or further reduction this year”.



Notes to Editors

The CGA-CAMRA Pub Tracker shows the breakdown of pub closures by tenure as follows:

Tenure Weekly net pub closures
Free -11
Managed -1
Non Managed (leased and tenanted) -16

Managed: Part of a chain of five or more venues with common ownership and management.

Non-Managed (leased and tenanted): Owned by a pub company or regional brewer and operated by an individual or business under a lease or tenancy agreement.

Free/IFT (Independent Free Trade): Owned and operated by an individual.

*57% of pubco licensees report earning less than £10,000 a year (compared with just 25% of free of tie lessees) – Pubco Licensee Survey: Report produced for CAMRA by CGA Strategy, June 2013


For further information contact the CAMRA Press Office on 01727 798443 or email Press Manager Neil Walker on



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