The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) has warned that a “triple whammy of taxes” are killing pubs, with 18 closing every week.
The group is calling on the government to implement a fundamental review of the tax system arguing that beer duties, business rates and VAT, now make up a third of the price of a pint and are crippling businesses.
Colin Valentine, Camra’s national chairman said: “Pubs are now facing a crippling tax burden, exacerbated by the perfect storm of the last business rates revaluation and a high level of beer duty. From these new pub closure figures, it is clear that a fundamental change is needed if the British pub is to survive for future generations.
“As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, the government has a unique opportunity to update the tax system to better support pubs, which are a bastion of British culture and at the heart of communities across the country.
“We can now look further afield for a new tax deal for the sector. This could include implementing the Australian model of having a lower rate of duty for beer sold in pubs, radically changing the business rates system, or charging a lower rate of VAT for pubs or, even better, all three.
“Millions of dedicated pub-goers are looking to the government to act now to secure the future of the great British pub. We’re now challenging the Government to be the most pro-pub in history by seizing this opportunity.”
Despite Camra’s warning the Coffer Peach Business Tracker showed that pubs were proving more resilient than restaurants to industry pressures in February.
The tracker found that pubs continued to prove more resilient than restaurants to industry pressures in February achieving a 1.3% increase in like-for-like sales compared to a 1.5% decline seen in restaurants.