Up to 4,000 pubs ‘to close this year’

Up to 4,000 pubs that are “stuck in the 1980s” will close in the next year, according to the 2014 Good Pub Guide.

Pub closedBut while the closures are bad news the guide added, “in this same coming year, we expect well over 1,000 new pubs to open.”

The editor’s introduction to the guide said: “In the next 12 months between 2,500 and 4,000 pubs will go out of business. This sounds dire, and of course it’s bad news for their staff and regular customers.

“But these are pubs at the bottom of the pecking order, the bad pubs, which still behave as if we are stuck in the 1980s, happy with indifferent food, drink and service and surroundings. It’s high time they closed their doors.”

One landlord told the guide: “The bad pubs are still being culled, just like lions pick off the slowest of the herd. It makes the pub industry more robust and far better placed for the future.”

But the introduction goes on to say: “In this same coming year, we expect well over 1,000 new pubs to open – often visionary and energetic new licensees bringing fresh life to former pubs that had been shuttered for months or years.”

However others in the industry have expressed concern over the figures quoted by the guide, and by the apparent acceptance of this fate.

Steve Kemp, political officer of the GMB union, said: “The report identifies that there are thousands of pubs that have not been refurbished, where the offering to consumers is outdated.

“The report does not identify the root causes as to why these pubs that survived the depression and the war have been starved of investment. Action to address the root causes rather than closing them is the answer for staff and for local communities.”

Perhaps not surprisingly Roger Protz, editor of the Campaign for Real Ale’s 2014 Good Beer Guide, was also not impressed by the Good Pub Guide’s introduction. He told the Press Association: “How bizarre that a book called the Good Pub Guide should welcome the closure of as many as 4,000 pubs. Pubs need to be saved – not thrown on the scrapheap.

“We welcome the new Localism Act that enables pubgoers to save pubs threatened with closure, get them listed by local authorities and protected as community assets.

“One hundred such pubs are now listed in this manner and several are run as co-operatives by local people. We want to save pubs, not axe them.”

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