The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has pledged to help halt the decline in the number of pubs in London, as new figures show the city has lost 1,220 pubs since 2001.
This is according to data from the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) and Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), compiled by GLA Economics, which found that, in 2001, there were 4,835 pubs in London. By 2016, this had fallen by 25% to 3,615 – an average loss of 81 pubs per year.
Two London boroughs reported a loss of more than half of their pubs – Barking and Dagenham (a loss of 56%) and Newham (52%). Other badly-affected boroughs include Croydon (45%), Waltham Forest (44%), Hounslow (42%) and Lewisham (41%). Hackney, the only borough that did not report an overall loss, saw an increase of 3% since 2001.
This audit of London’s public houses is the first strand of the Mayor’s Cultural Infrastructure Plan for 2030.
London’s night czar, Amy Lamé, has also launched a public consultation, ‘Culture and the night time economy’. It contains guidance on how boroughs can use the London Plan to protect public houses from closure and encourages them to implement the Agent of Change principle – putting the onus on developers that build properties next to pubs to pay for soundproofing.
Khan said: “The great British pub is at the heart of the capital’s culture. That’s why I’m shocked at the rate of closure highlighted by these statistics, and why we have partnered with CAMRA to ensure we can track the number of pubs open in the capital and redouble our efforts to stem the rate of closures.”
Lamé said: “Every pub closed in London is a blow to a local community, and these statistics show that London’s locals are under real threat from a wide range of issues – from development to rising business rates.”
Greater London CAMRA regional director Geoff Strawbridge said: “CAMRA has welcomed the opportunity to work with the Mayor in monitoring pub closures in the capital, and hopes this initiative will continue to draw attention to the plight of London pubs.”
The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) welcomed the plans. Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “It is hugely encouraging to see the Mayor acknowledging the vital contribution being made by pubs and confirm his support for the sector.
“The ALMR has been liaising with the Mayor’s Office and it is great to see many of the issues that we have raised being carefully considered, particularly the damage cause by increasing rates bills, and barriers to growth in the late-night sector.”
Chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) Brigid Simmonds added: “Mayor Khan rightly highlights the negative impact of high business rates – many London pubs have seen huge increases in their rates bills. I would also welcome support to tackle the sky-high rates of beer duty in the UK, which is another huge burden on London’s brewers and pubs, following the 4% beer tax rise in the budget.”
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