One in five pubs in Rugby has closed in the last decade, new figures show.
With nearly a quarter of the UK’s pubs taking their last orders since 2008, the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) says communities suffer as small local pubs are lost.
There are now around 75 pubs and bars in Rugby, an estimated 20 fewer than in 2008, figures from the Office of National Statistics show.
The situation has been reflected across the West Midlands, where 25% of pubs and bars have closed in the last ten years. There are now 3,420 in the region.
The ONS’s “Economics of Ale” report shows that there are 11,000 fewer pubs and bars nationwide than before the 2008 recession.
But the turnover of the pub industry has remained strong, as larger chains focus on bigger bars at the expense of smaller pubs.
While the number of establishments has declined, there are more employees working in pubs than there were ten years ago. The report suggests this may be because surviving pubs have moved onto offering more labour-intensive services such as food or accommodation.
In 2008, the average pub in the UK employed five people. Now, the figure stands at eight.
In Rugby, a similar trend has been seen, with the average pub employing eight staff in 2018, up from four in 2008.
Alongside this, there has been a rise of 13% in the total Rugby pub workforce, to 900 this year.
Camra has called for reform to business rates and cuts in beer duty to help tackle the loss of pubs. It also wants a full review of the Pubs Code, which governs the relationship between firms who own 500 or more pubs and their tenants.
The organisation’s chief campaigns and communications officer, Tom Stainer, said: “These shocking new figures show the huge loss that has been felt by communities up and down the country as beloved locals have closed down.
“By focusing on the stability of turnover from pubs and bars since the recession this study fails to measure the loss of the benefits that local pubs bring to their communities.
“Pubs play a unique role in offering a social environment to enjoy a drink with friends, they help combat isolation and loneliness and help people feel connected to their community.
“With a quarter of pubs closing in the last decade, we need the Government to act now to save our pubs from extinction.”