Britain’s licensed premises drop below 100,000 for the first time in 20 years

By Restaurant

- Last updated on GMT

Britain’s licensed premises drop below 100,000 for the first time in 20 years

Related tags Pubs ukhospitality Cga

New figures from hospitality trade body UKHospitality show that Britain’s number of licensed premises has fallen by nearly a third (31%) in the past two decades.

Gathered in partnership with CGA by NIQ, the figures highlight the seismic changes in hospitality and the sustained periods of pressure the industry has been under, more recently exacerbated by soaring inflation, rising energy bills and workforce challenges, UKHospitality says. 

The organisation is calling for urgent Government support in the Autumn Statement, in the form of extending business rates relief and freezing the current multiplier.

The insights show that at the end of September 2023, the total number of licensed premises in Britain stood at 99,916 — a drop of 30.6% from the figure of 144,055 recorded by CGA in 2003, and the first time it has entered five figures.

The period has seen a marked  increase in eating venues, up 14.8%, mainly in the form of the casual dining restaurants and food-led pubs, which reflects the consumer shift in this time from drinking out to eating out.

The largest losses have been drink-led pubs, bars and nightclubs, which have seen a net decline of 43.6% over the period. 

The positive news is that the wider hospitality sector continues to grow its workforce, suggesting that some of the losses of venues are offset by larger sites and particularly more food-focused businesses. However, this shows a very changed landscape in the space of just two decades, UKHospitality says. 

“Given the shocking number of hospitality business closures exposed by these new figures, the last thing the sector needs is the potential £1 billion bill as a result of the business rates hike due in April,” says UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls. 

“Our industry has proved time and time again that, with the right conditions, it can drive national economic growth, invest in local communities and create jobs at all levels.

“The Autumn Statement is an opportunity to extend the current business rates relief and freeze the current multiplier. In doing so, it can not only save more local and national businesses from closure but enable investment and growth. We also continue to ask the Chancellor to consider more medium- to long-term measures to support the industry, such as reviewing the rate of VAT for hospitality and reforming the apprenticeship levy to give businesses more control and flexibility over funding.”

Related topics Trends & Reports

Related news

Show more