Rise in number of pubs calling time

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The number of pubs closing every week has increased to 18 as the industry struggles against high taxes and cheaper supermarket prices, new research has revealed.

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) said pub closures had increased from 12 a week in the past year, with 450 shut across the UK since March alone. The report was published ahead of a debate in the Commons yesterday on the beer duty escalator, introduced four years ago, under which beer duty is automatically increased by two per cent above inflation.

More than 100,000 people have signed a petition against the tax escalator, which triggered the debate. Camra said pubs were now closing at an increased rate, with beer sales “plummeting”.

Chief executive Mike Benner said: “As today’s pub closure figures show, the future of Britain’s valued community pubs remains in jeopardy.”