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Number of licensed premises drop to "record low" Published Date: 15/01/2024

The Independent reported that "Thousands of bars, restaurants and pubs across the UK are pulling down their shutters for the final time as out-of-control ground rents, produce costs and no-show bookings continue to plague the industry."

There were more than 10 closures every day, according to industry data which revealed the number of licensed premises in Britain fell by 3.6 per cent from 103,682 to 99,916 in the year to September.

This marks the first time the total has dropped below 100,000 in the research’s history, according to the latest figures from consultancy group CGA.

The hospitality industry says "it is crumbling" under the joint pressures of rocketing energy, rent, and food bills, staff shortages, and no-show bookings, amid the ongoing cost of living crisis and the after-effects of Covid and Brexit.

Martin McTague, national chair at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said:

“Increasing rents and input costs, coupled with inflation, high energy prices and low consumer demand have been chipping away at the hospitality industry, to the extent that more than half of small businesses in the sector are experiencing falling revenues, as well as rock bottom confidence levels. Employment costs spiralling due to labour shortages, rises in the national living wage and forthcoming changes to pensions legislation are all adding to the burden.”

Among the major sectors, the hospitality businesses had the lowest level of confidence, at -31.1 points for accommodation and food service activities, FSB’s smallbBusiness index Q3 2023 shows.