The decline in community pub numbers will become a flood unless immediate action is taken to reduce stifling red tape and mitigate rising costs, according to new research.
The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) claims the number of managed community pubs (those in suburban and rural locations) has fallen by 10% since March 2007 to 3,225.
Overall the total number of UK managed pubs has fallen from 11,784 to 11,522 in the same period.
The average total cost of running a pub, excluding rent, is now at 52% of total turnover, up from 50.7% in the past year.
Nick Bish, chief executive of the ALMR, said: "Community pubs deserve to be supported and encouraged, not suffocated by red tape and driven out of business by spiralling costs. Failure to act now will see the steady decline in community pub numbers transformed from a trickle to a flood. "
The ALMR has written to the Treasury proposing three measures to halt the decline of the community pub.
It has also called for reform of the licensing regime to strip out unnecessary costs and administrative burdens and wants current proposals for capital gains tax, which could penalise small businesses, ditched.
The ALMR has also called on the Treasury to give more effective business support, including an increase in the exemption thresholds for stamp duty, land tax and rate relief.
By Christopher Walton
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