Recession is crippling pubs - claim

DOZENS of Suffolk pubs are on the brink of closure because of the crippling effects of recession, industry leaders warned today.

DOZENS of Suffolk pubs are on the brink of closure because of the crippling effects of recession, industry leaders warned today.

Their fears were voiced after figures revealed that 52 pubs closed every week in Britain during the first six months of the year - an increase of a third on the same period last year.

Shaun De Silva, chairman of Ipswich Barwatch, described the current climate as the worst he has known in his 23 years in the industry.

He said that while the national rise in closures had not been mirrored in Suffolk, many struggling landlords were staring into the abyss.


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“We haven't seen the large increase in pub closures but a great deal are facing severe financial difficulties,” said Mr De Silva, landlord of The Brewers Arms in Ipswich's Orford Street.

“The recession has catapulted the demise of the local pub but beer tax and supermarket offers were already crippling us.”

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Research for the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) showed that the rate of closure was the steepest since figures began in 1990. In 2005, the closure rate was only two a week.

The BBPA claimed job losses in the industry had not attracted particular interest because they had not happened in one dramatic collapse.

Mr De Silva said: “I have had to slash employment by 50 per cent in my own pub and this is happening everywhere.

“This is the worst time I have ever known in my 23 years in the industry.”

He predicted that up to one in five pubs in Suffolk could be lost unless the government altered the existing trading conditions.

BBPA chief executive David Long added: “The recession is proving extremely tough for Britain's pubs.

“However, those economic pressures have been made much worse by a government that has continued to pile on tax and regulatory burdens.”

Should the government do more to help the pub industry? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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