Pub trade sees boost in Calderdale following long-term decline
More pubs are opening their doors to customers in Calderdale, figures reveal, following a long-term decline in trade.
Industry bodies have cautiously welcomed the first rise in the number of premises across the UK for over a decade, but have called for tax breaks to ensure the survival of the “great British pub”.
Read: 21 ways that Halifax has changed since the year 2000Office for National Statistics data shows that the pumps were pouring at around 180 public houses in Calderdale in 2019 – an estimated five more than in the previous year.
But this was still significantly fewer than the 250 boozers open in 2007.
The introduction of the smoking ban in the same year, the impact of the Great Recession and a rise in alcohol duty in 2008 have all been blamed for landlords calling last orders since.
Across the UK, a 1% rise in the numbers of establishments last year to just over 39,000 was the first increase since 2007, when the figure stood at 51,000.
The number of small pubs – those with fewer than 10 employees – also rose for the first time since 2002.
National chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale Nik Antona “cautiously” welcomed the fact that pubs – especially smaller ones – appeared to be bouncing back after years of closures.
“Unfortunately pubs continue to close across the country, particularly in small or rural communities,” he said.
“This means the loss of the social, cultural and economic benefits that come with a well-run local.”
Read: A closer look at the £5m improvements planned for the A646 corridor in CalderdaleCamra is calling on the Government to review business rates and lower the tax rate on beer sold in pubs.
Mr Antona added: “We urge that these asks are reflected in the forthcoming Budget to help save the great British pub.”
The British Beer and Pub Association agreed, saying that “policy makers have a great opportunity in the March Budget to help pubs flourish”.
While the number of locals across the UK has dropped in the long-term, there are more employees working in pubs on average than a decade ago.
In 2007, the average pub in the UK employed five people. Now, the figure stands at eight.
In Calderdale, a similar trend has been seen, with the average pub employing five staff in 2019, up from four in 2007.
A Treasury spokesman said: “Small pubs and bars are part of the heart and soul of our communities – so it’s great news they are on the rise.
“We’re committed to giving them support, which is why we will be cutting their bills in half through the business rates retail discount plus further support with a new pubs relief.”