Next time you are in England looking for a traditional pint of bitter, you might have to look harder than you expected. Staggered by the economic downturn, pubs in the UK are closing at a record rate of more than seven a day, or 52 a week, leading to 24,000 job losses in the last year, a lobby group said on Wednesday.
Bogged down by economic pressures and regulatory burdens, a whopping 2,377 pubs have been closed over the last 12 months, costing the UK government more than 254 million pounds in lost taxes, according to the British Beer & Pub Association.
Members of the association account for 98 per cent of the beer brewed in the UK and own about two-thirds of the country's 54,000 pubs.
In the last three years, a total of 5,134 pubs have gone out of business. There are now 53,466 pubs in Britain, the association noted.
"The recession is proving extremely tough for Britain's pubs ... however, those economic pressures have been made worse by a government that has continued to pile on tax and regulatory burdens," BBPA chief executive David Long said.
Closures rose to 52 a week in the first half of this year from 39 a week in the last six months of 2008, the BBPA noted in a statement. Pubs in local communities are ''proving the most vulnerable,'' with 40 shutting every week.