Saturday, 12 May 2012

Local attraction

The Daily Telegraph reports on research by Mintel that says “a third of Britons believe that it is important to have a pub close to their home as it demonstrates that they are part of a community.”

However, the sting in the tail is that, just like facilities such as libraries and local butchers, they still value it even if they rarely use it personally. No business can survive on good wishes alone. The research also says that the number of adults regularly visiting pubs has fallen from seven out of ten in 2007 to six out of ten now.

Apparently, “three in ten people think it has been much more pleasant going to pubs since the smoking ban.” So, by inference, seven out of ten don’t. As I’ve said in the past, “So the folk who used to go in a pub once every three months and moan about it being smoky, will now still go in every three months and say how much better it is that there’s no smoke and all those rough people are no longer there.”

On a related note, despite fears from one commenter of a “Millennium Bug”, the pub closures counter in the sidebar has successfully ticked over to 10004 today. I hope all the antismokers out there feel proud of what they’ve achieved.


  1. And as I've written in the past:

    "I should have thought the reasons why the retail and leisure industries are suffering so badly would be obvious to all, the main one being the recession, with its attendant job insecurity, redundancies, wage cuts or freezes, inflation, declining living standards, and 20% VAT. But no: there are those who proclaim that the main reason why pubs are closing is still the smoking ban, introduced four years ago. They must believe that pubs are immune to all the economic pressures bearing on other industries. In fact, they have additional problems, such as pub companies ripping them off and beer tax rising every year at above inflation.

    "One argument is that pubs survived previous recessions without the current rate of closures, and as the one additional factor is the smoking ban, it must be that that's tipped so many pubs over the edge. You could say the same about Woolworth's - it too survived every previous recession, but closed in January 2009. As the smoking ban obviously didn't kill Woolies, there must be other factors destroying businesses in Britain today, and pubs, after all, are businesses.

    "In reality, the smoking ban isn't the only additional factor at all. In previous recessions, pubs didn't have rip-off pubcos running them; they were run by breweries who wanted an outlet for their beers and therefore had no interest in driving pubs out of business, unlike pubcos who, if a pub goes bust, have a piece of property they can sell. Neither did they have to contend with 20% VAT, escalating beer tax and hostile anti-alcohol campaigners.

    "Some of the smoking ban opponents state that they don't go to pubs any more since the ban, which means - logically - they don't chat to licensees as I do (as opposed to ferreting around on the internet to produce dubious evidence to support increasingly peevish arguments). The view I tend to come across is that, yes the smoking ban is a factor, but by no means the only one and not even the main one."

  2. The confounder to your argument, RedNev, is that Woolies crashed after the '08 recession but the spike in Pub closures commenced in late '07. i.e. before the recession. Several graphs show it.

    So even if the ban is one of several causes (I think it's the main one from which all else followed)it can be easily remedied by removal or amendment. I think you'll find a lot of people in favour of that move.

    3/10 is hardly a ringing endorsement. If it is the 'success' they quote parrot fashion, surely it would be 7/10.

  3. I've got some spare sand if you want to burying your head a bit further RedNev.

  4. Actually RedNev is right, the smoking ban ended up at the spear head of the problem but it is the other factors that are killing off the local pub.

    We can moan about the smoking ban until the cows come home. But what we need is people to go back to the pub, People say they buy at the supermarket because they can drink at home with a drink but lets face it they would go now because they can buy ata a supermarket without the mark up that the government FORCE the pubs to use.

  5. What mark-up that the government FORCE pubs to use? There's no legal reason why any pub can't charge Spoons prices, or even Sam Smith's prices - £1.80 a pint!

  6. What we need is people to go back to the pub.
    There,s nothing I would like better. Why on earth can't we have smoking and non smoking pubs, smoking and non smoking cafe,s, and hotel,s that actually had the choice to provide a modicom of comfort.
    Is there any wonder this country,s in such a mess?

  7. Presumably 7 out of 10 either don't have a strong opinion or feel that pubs aren't better since the ban. Regardless of how often they use them. But I'd wager that most from all camps have little idea how or why they've been misled. The ban was designed to cause divisiveness and thus to pave the way towards further smoking bans in cars, outdoor public spaces and rented properties. Privately owned homes will come later, once they have successfully designated smoking in front as children as abuse. The move toward draconian alcohol control (the primary agenda) will thus be made so much easier. Social engineering, pure and simple.

  8. Red,
    Even when I have had no income and no capital I have managed to go to pubs ~300 days a year - for four years. I could not do that now - no way. After the smoking ban I can not do this because the people that would buy me drinks night after night, without complaint, people I have known for decades, are no longer there.

    People that like to go to pubs just to eat food are not going to buy me drinks. My experience of past recessions is that pubs survive them quite well and pubs were better than job centres if you needed work. I think any objective analysis of the decline of pubs in recent years has to put the blame on the smoking ban and tax escalator. I think those are the two things, if eliminated, would be a massive boost to pubs but I hold little hope of either of them disapearing any time soon.
    At least with the tax escalator people can say it gives revenue to the treasury, not so with the smoking ban, no income whatsoever, the smoking ban is done out of pure spite for pubs and the people that use them.

  9. “three in ten people think it has been much more pleasant going to pubs since the smoking ban.” So, by inference, seven out of ten don’t

    That's a big inference. If 6 out ten use pubs, then the 3 is half of all people that use pubs. You might infer the other 3 either don't give a toss or think it less pleasant. You can infer the 4 out of ten that do not use pubs do not give a toss.

    So out of your 7, 4 do not subscribe to your view and the other 3 might or might not.

  10. It's easy to tell that most of you can't see anything beyond your own obsession with the smoking ban: the recession is irrelevant, job losses are irrelevant, the tax and pubco pressures on pubs are irrelevant. Listen to yourselves! There's a whole world out there, and in case you haven't noticed, it's in economic meltdown. Anyone who continues to pin pub closures on one factor alone is dangerously out of touch. And I won't take lessons from anyone who adds to the problem by refusing to go to the pub because of the ban - your tears are utterly hypocritical.

  11. Well, according to Mintel, we know that, since 2007, a seventh no longer go, i.e. a drop of 14.3%.

    Are those who think it pleasanter making up for the loss? From the rate of closures it doesn't appear to be the case.

  12. Blue'n'Bramble15 May 2012 at 22:43

    Your logic is flawed, Curmudgeon, because pubs and clubs were decimated in 1984 during the miner's strike when the north had no money at all. There were no reports of fights between strikers and scabs on the premises because they all continued to go to them, that didn't happen. The fact that no-one had money meant that they all failed badly and closed, it's a matter of historical record.

    Or RedNev could be talking rubbish.

  13. "it's a matter of historical record"

    So you can give us a link confirming that, then?

    As someone who was living in "The North" in 1984 I don't remember any wave of pub closures remotely resembling that of the past five years.

  14. From Dave Atherton

    Rednev and everybody else maybe interested in my research into pub closures, the smoking ban and GDP. The first 4 figures are the quarterly growth figures and the last for the year. Then I state the number of closures. In summary 2006 saw GDP growth of 2.7% and 200 pubs closing.

    2007 saw GDP growth of 2.4% but closures of 1,409 pubs.

    The recession did not start until the 2nd quarter of 2008.


    1.1 0.3 0.5 0.8 = 2.7%

    200 pubs clubs closed


    .0 0.6 0.5 0.3 = 2.4%

    Closures of 1,409 pubs

  15. "As someone who was living in "The North" in 1984 I don't remember any wave of pub closures remotely resembling that of the past five years."

    I don't remember it in the "South", either. But I do remember the pubcos starting to open up.


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