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 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 2019, according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), there were 47,200 public houses in the UK. 23,400 of these pubs were independent, 13,900 are owned by Pub Companies, and 9,900 were owned by breweries.

UK pub numbers to 2020

The number of pubs has been decreasing steadily for several decades. From 2000 to 2019, pub numbers have declined by 13,600, or 22%. More recently, 2010 to 2020 saw pub numbers fall by 15%.

Recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) data indicated that the number of pubs in the UK decreased in the year to March 2020, although not all areas of the UK saw a fall. From 2019 to 2020, London had 1.1% increase in the number of pubs. Yorkshire and the Humber and Wales also saw increases in the number of pubs.

Pubs per 100,000 people

In 2020, according to ONS data, there were 58 pubs per 100,000 people in the UK. Regionally, there was some variation. The South West had 75 pubs per 100,000 people, whilst London had 40.

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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