Lost pubs of the pandemic: Covid saw multiple Aylesbury Vale and Bucks watering holes shut
and live on Freeview channel 276
The coronavirus pandemic placed extraordinary pressure on pubs and the hospitality sector as national lockdowns forced closures, while demand took a hit as punters chose to stay at home to avoid catching the virus.
New data from real estate advisers Altus Group shows there were 380 pubs in Buckinghamshire as of June – down from 382 in March 2020, before the first coronavirus lockdown.
Across the South East region – including in Aylesbury Vale and wider Bucks – there have been 125 closures since the start of the pandemic, including 15 this year.
And Altus has warned "soaring energy costs, inflationary pressures and tax rises” may force more pubs to close in the area.
This decline started long before the pandemic – nationally 7,000 pubs have been shuttered over the last decade.
The figures cover pubs that pay business rates, including those vacant and offered to let.
Research by the British Beer and Pub Association, British Institute of Innkeeping and UKHospitality shows only 37% of hospitality businesses are turning a profit at present.
The rising costs of energy, goods and labour have been blamed for falling profits, and the industry is now calling on the Government to provide more support.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “When pubs are forced to close it’s a huge loss to the local community, and these numbers paint a devastating picture of how pubs are being lost in villages, towns and cities across the country."
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy said: “We understand the challenges that the pubs sector is facing.
"This is why we are supporting pubs across the UK with 50 percent business rates relief, freezing alcohol duty rates on beer, cider, wine and spirits and increasing the employment allowance.
"This is in addition to the billions in grants and loans offered throughout the pandemic.”