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UK pub closures in 2022 near to highest level in a decade Published Date: 14/02/2023

Pub and bar bankruptcies across the UK were near the highest level in a decade with more than 500 businesses folding last year, data from the Insolvency Service has found.

The total number of licensed venues in the UK has fallen by 15 per cent over the past decade with the annual bankruptcy rate averaging 466. The sector has been struggling with a combination of high energy, labour and food and drink wholesale costs.

Insolvencies rose from 280 in 2021 to 512 last year, accountancy group UHY Hacker Young said, as a survey found nearly one-quarter of pub firms could be forced out of business after just three bad months.

The cost of living crisis and interest rate rises have hampered customer spending on drinks and meals in pubs, while rail strikes have stopped punters from travelling into city centres, a report says.

Peter Kubik of UHY Hacker Young said:

“It’s deeply concerning that so many pubs and bars are closing their doors. In addition to the financial consequences for owners and employees, the loss of a pub can be felt quite keenly by the community.

“This is a particularly difficult period for pub and bar owners, who find they need to spend more and more while earning less and less.

“Perhaps the government should consider what it can do to alleviate pressures, for instance, by extending the energy bill relief scheme for the hospitality sector.”