Despite a small rise in the number of pubs of all sizes last year, the overall number ..." /> Pubs on the up – and down – Cheers North East

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Published on February 4th, 2020 | by Alastair Gilmour

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Pubs on the up – and down

Despite a small rise in the number of pubs of all sizes last year, the overall number of pubs in the UK had previously been dropping for more than a decade. Previously, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that this fall was mainly driven by small pubs – employing fewer than 10 people – closing. The figures showed that the number of medium sized and large pubs was actually growing.

New figures published show that, while the total number of pubs fell from 51,120 to 39,130 between 2007 and 2019, total employment grew from 426,000 to 457,000 over the same period.

Statistics show that the growth in employment has been driven by customers eating, rather than drinking, with the share of pub employees working as bar staff falling from 37.6% in 2007 to 28.9% in 2019, while the percentage employed as kitchen and waiting staff increased from 29.1% to 43.8% over the same period.

Senior statistician Hugh Strickland said: “While smaller pubs have been struggling to survive in recent years, bigger pubs have been growing in number. This growth has been driven by food rather than drink and we’ve seen a big rise in the number of people employed as pub kitchen and waiting staff.

“The latest year, however, shows the first rise in total numbers since before the financial crisis, with growth in pubs of all sizes. We’ll have to wait to see if this marks a revival for smaller ‘locals’.”


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Alastair Gilmour



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