Around 300 community pubs around Britain have closed permanently in the last six months, according to new figures released by the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).
Camra said that 12 pubs now close across Britain every week - including eight in suburban areas, and four in rural areas. The rate of weekly closures is around half that recorded in March last year, when they were running at 25 a week.
New county breakdown figures showed Lancashire and West Midlands as among hardest hit areas
Meanwhile a survey by Camra also showed that 73% of regular pub goers supported a freeze in beer duty. Around 33,000 consumers have now signed a national e-petition organised by Hobgoblin to bring an end to above inflation beer tax increases.
Pubs have been hit by a 42% increase in beer duty since 2008. Camra hopes that the petition will eventually hit 100,000 signatures, and his encouraging consumers to sign up on its website: www.camra.org.uk/saveyourpint.
Mike Benner, Camra chief executive, said: "Whether situated in a small village, city high street, or on the edge of a housing estate, pubs are so central to our society that whole communities can grow around a particular pub. A threat to the future of traditional pubs is therefore also a threat to countless social groups within Britain that thrive because of their local.
"Unsustainable beer tax increases by the Government are ripping the heart out of community centres, but with over 33,000 consumers having recently signed the beer tax e-petition, beer drinkers and pub goers are actively voicing their discontent. Camra is now campaigning to secure 100,000 signatures, which would force Parliament to debate above inflation rises in beer duty."
Camra has also today released new figures showing the worst hit areas of Britain for pub closures. A full breakdown of the number of pubs lost in the last 6 months - county by county - can be viewed at www.camra.org.uk/countypubclosures.
By Neil Gerrard
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