Cheap store booze puts more pubs in danger
More than a third of pubs in the South West are at risk of closing over the next year, according to shocking figures which paint a bleak picture for the sector.
Cheap supermarket alcohol is being blamed for driving out licensees in pubs and bars across the region, with some areas seeing a cluster of closures over the last few weeks alone.
Steve Scarff, chairman of the Licensed Victuallers' Association for the South West, said the Stoke area of Plymouth alone had seen seven closures in the past fortnight.
Mr Scarff, who is landlord of the Railway Inn in Stoke, said: "My biggest bugbear is that it's supposed to be a level playing field, but we're still allowing supermarkets to undercut bars and pubs, and then we're expected to deal with the antisocial behaviour caused by people who drink at home to save money before a night out.
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"It's not good for anyone except big business."
The research, carried out by R3, the trade body for insolvency professionals, found that 34% of pubs were at risk of failure in the next 12 months, compared to 24% of other businesses.