Monday, 20 June 2011

Save the pub from Cameron!

The Sunday Mirror seems to have suddenly woken up and noticed that pubs are closing left, right and centre.

The local is in crisis. So today the Sunday Mirror calls on PM David Cameron to honour his election promise that his Government would be “pub-friendly and take the urgent action needed to protect a treasured national institution”.
It’s funny how they weren’t quite so vocal when their friends in the Labour Party were in charge and busy doing their best to wreck the pub trade. But, even so, better late than never, and as we have seen the Coalition are enthusiastically continuing the anti-pub policies that Labour began. There’s even - right at the end - an acknowledgement of the elephant in the room:

The smoking ban dealt a devastating blow to thousands of traditional pubs. Takings nosedived by as much as 40 per cent at some town centre and inner city locals as smokers decided to drink at home. Supporters of the ban - introduced in Scotland in 2006 and the rest of the UK in 2007 - say it has made pubs more family friendly and people healthier. But street corner pubs with no beer garden have suffered badly.
It may not do all that much to change things, but at least there’s a wider appreciation of the reasons behind the decline of the pub trade in the past few years. And, while supermarket pricing again gets part of the blame, was the differential really that much less before July 2007?

(h/t to Simon Clark at Taking Liberties)


  1. "Takings nosedived by as much as 40 per cent"

    It is obvious that this must mean more than just a 40% decrease in profits.

    Am wondering just how much of the average local pub's takings go to fixed overhead(rents/taxes/salaries/stock and etc) and what that might leave for the proprietor of that average local pub??

    Gary K.

  2. off the top of my head I would say that maybe about 40% of takings (net of VAT) go on fixed and semi-fixed overheads, 50% on cost of goods purchased and 10% income to the licensee.

  3. I guess that I stated that wrong.

    A 40% loss of takings usually means a 30% loss in ability to pay the expenses??

    Gary K.

  4. A 40% decline in takings would completely wipe out any profit and leave a licensee unable to pay the expenses. He would have to look at cutting down on staff costs, utility bills etc, and even that probably wouldn't be enough. Realistically, a 40% fall in turnover would make most pubs unviable.

  5. You’re obviously not a regular Mirror reader. They’re notoriously prudish and quite prohibitionist in the pleasures they believe their readers should enjoy. So although they are (and have long been) against the smoking ban, they are also enthusiastic supporters of minimum pricing. Putting them at loggerheads, one would imagine, with most of their readership.

  6. Indeed, obviously my populist tabloid of choice tends to be The Sun.

    I think a lot of people have a certain sympathy with minimum pricing because they believe (wrongly) that it will only impact on tramps swilling Special Brew in the park and won't affect them.


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