Two pubs are closing every day, according to new figures released today by the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).
The new research, timed to coincide with the release of Camra's Good Beer Guide 2012, showed that nine tied pubs were closing every week, compared with five free-of-tie pubs.
Camra said it showed that free-market reforms were needed to secure the future of small pub businesses on inflexible tied leases with national pub companies.
The organisation also claimed that tied pub licensees, who are prevented from buying beer on the open market, were being forced to pay up to 45% more than their free-of-tie competitors.
The number of tied pubs has fallen by 3,216 since December 2008. But there was some good news for free-of-tie pubs, which actually increased in number by 425 over the same period.
Roger Protz, Camra Good Beer Guide editor, said: "While many tied publicans struggle in the face of high rents and excessive beer prices, free-of-tie owners are faring better in the current climate with the ability to offer greater beer choice, lower prices and a better pub environment to the consumer.
"Free-of-tie pubs, managed pubs and tied pubs run on a more sustainable basis by the family brewers are much more likely to survive and continue serving communities long into the future. Such successful businesses take pride of place in the Good Beer Guide 2012 and serve as models for the future in helping to preserve Britain's iconic beer and pub industry."
By Neil Gerrard
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