Taking positive steps to encourage new openings would generate the same amount of revenue for the Chancellor as next year's planned hike in the alcohol duty escalator.
That was today's message to Alastair Darling from the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) ahead of next Monday's Pre-Budget Report.
Since December 2006 there has been a 75% drop in new pub openings, according to figures provided to the ALMR by CGA Strategy.
The trade body estimates that if the market returned to 2006 figures, those new outlets would generate an extra £155,000 each per year - £203.5m in total - for the Exchequer.
The Chancellor is expecting to raise an additional £505m through the alcohol duty escalator next year (2009-10) - half of which will be derived from pubs and bars.
The ALMR is therefore urging the Government to capitalise on the pub industry's potential and adopt measures to encourage entrepreneurship in the sector.
The alternative will be to stick to a tax system which will accelerate the rate of pub closures, it warned.
"If we could get back to the number of openings we had just last year, then the Chancellor could be raising the revenue he wants."
By Daniel Thomas
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