Impact of Covid-19 (coronavirus)

The statistics in this briefing paper do not show the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Public houses and bars are one of the businesses required to close to the public under the government’s lockdown measures in order to reduce social contact. The most up-to-date information on this can be found on the Gov.uk page Closing certain businesses and venues in England

According to the ONS Business Impact Survey, during the period 20 April-3 May 2020, 78% of businesses in the accommodation and food sector had temporarily closed or temporarily paused trading. Of these businesses, 93% of the workforcce had been furloughed.

In 2018, according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), there were 47,600 public houses in the UK. 22,740 of these pubs were independent, 14,260 are owned by Pub Companies, and 10,600 were owned by breweries.

UK pub numbers 1990 to 2018

The number of pubs has been decreasing steadily for several decades. According to the BBPA, from 2000 to 2018, pub numbers have declined by 13,200, or 22%. More recently, 2011 to 2018 saw pub numbers fall by 13%.

Recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) data indicated that the number of pubs in the UK increased in the year to 2019, although not all areas saw an increase. From 2018 to 2019, the North East had the largest rise in pub and bar numbers, with a 5% increase, whilst Wales saw a 1% fall.

Pubs per 100,000 people

In 2019, there were 59 pubs per 100,000 people in the UK. Regionally, there was some variation. London had 40 pubs for every 100,000 people, whilst the South West had 76 pubs per 100,000 people.

Employment in UK pubs and bars

The decline of pub numbers has not led to a decline in overall employment numbers in pubs. There was an increase in employment in pubs by 1% from 2001 to 2018. The data also shows employment in small pubs (employing fewer than 10 people) has fallen by 41%.

Data for public houses by parliamentary constituency is available in the spreadsheet accompanying this Briefing Paper, and this data is from the ONS’ UK Business Counts


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