He points out that, since 1980, Britain has lost 21,000 pubs, with half of that coming since 2006. While some of that has been due to long-term social changes, more than half is the result of excessive taxation, unnecessary regulation and government meddling. Beer, and especially beer in pubs, has borne the brunt of the fall in per capita alcohol consumption. He argues that, while the pubcos may not represent a sound business model, their role in pub closures has been much exaggerated.
To claim that people are not going to the pub because PubCos are closing them down is to confuse cause with effect. In truth, pubs in every part of the sector are struggling from a fundamental lack of demand.This point is reinforced by his blogpost How not to lie with pub closure statistics.
In conclusion, he says
Pubs are struggling from a lack of demand for pubs which has been largely due to government policy. The government cannot - and should not - undo the cultural changes that have led to people choosing alternative leisure activities, but it can undo the damage it has caused through taxation and regulation. If it is genuinely concerned about the future of the pub trade, it should significantly reduce alcohol duty, relax the smoking ban, reduce VAT to 15 per cent (and lower it further for food sales), abolish cumulative impact zones and scrap the late night levy.Even if you don’t agree with everything he says, it’s well worth downloading and reading. And no doubt it will raise a few hackles amongst those who can’t see any cause of pub decline beyond the evil pubcos.