Ers giv­ing Bri­tish much-needed boost

Global Times - Weekend - - TRAVEL - Xin­hua

The for­tunes and mis­for­tunes of one of Bri­tain’s great­est in­sti­tu­tions, the pub­lic house, was put un­der the mi­cro­scope on Mon­day by the Of­fice for Na­tional Sta­tis­tics (ONS).

Fig­ures show nearly a quar­ter of pubs a across the coun­try have closed since 2008, but the turnover of the in­dus­try is holdi­ing up and the num­ber of peo­ple work­ing in bars is on the rise.

Tourism has come to the res­cue in many ar­eas with the num­ber of pubs re­main­ing sta­ble or in­creas­ing in pop­u­lar tourist ar­eas, such as High­land Scot­land, Ceredi­gion in West Wales and the fa­mous English Lake Dis­trict, as well as many sea­side towns such as Brighton on Eng­land’s south coast.

Fig­ures show the num­ber of small pubs de­creased by 40 per­cent be­tween 2001 and 2018 from 38,830 to 22,840, while the num­ber of larger pubs in­creased by 17 per­cent from 13,670 to 15,975.

ONS said the lat­est data con­firms the large fall in the num­ber of pubs, from around 50,000 pubs in 2008 to around 39,000 pubs in 2018.

The Lon­don bor­ough of Hack­ney saw the big­gest rise in the num­ber of pubs be­tween 2001 and 2018, with 30 new bars open­ing, while Birm­ing­ham, Bri­tain’s se­cond big­gest city, ex­pe­ri­enced the big­gest fall with 220 pubs clos­ing.

The fig­ures don’t tell the full story of how the Bri­tish pub trade is do­ing, said ONS.

“Al­though lots of pubs have closed, the to­tal turnover of pubs and bars has held up, re­main­ing flat since 2008, once in­fla­tion is taken into ac­count. The re­main­ing pubs and bars ap­pear to have soaked up the cus­tom from those pubs that have closed down,” the study re­vealed.

Many ar­eas on the edges of big cities, and in the com­muter belt, have seen the big­gest de­clines in the num­ber of pubs.

Bark­ing and Da­gen­ham, Ne­wham and Lu­ton, all in and around Lon­don, now have fewer than half the pubs they did in 2001.

There are also far fewer pubs in ar­eas around Man­ches­ter as well as on the out­skirts of Birm­ing­ham. Tor­faen, near New­port, lost the most pubs in Wales while in Scot­land two ar­eas south of Glas­gow saw pub num­bers de­cline the most.

All ar­eas of North­ern Ire­land have seen pubs close their doors, with num­bers fall­ing by more than a third be­tween 2001 and 2018.

Em­ploy­ment fig­ures show that while the num­ber of jobs in pubs dipped dur­ing the eco­nomic down­turn, there are now 6 per­cent more jobs in pubs and bars than there were in 2008.

The largest in­creases have been in big­ger pubs, em­ploy­ing 10 or more staff. This may be be­cause pubs are in­creas­ingly fo­cused on serv­ing food as well as drink, which re­quires more wait­ing and kitchen staff, ONS said.

Most jobs in pubs are low paid, said ONS, with around 70 per­cent of work­ers paid less than the Liv­ing Wage Foun­da­tion’s liv­ing wage of $13.55 an hour in Lon­don and $11.56 an hour else­where.

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