More than 150 pubs have disappeared for good from English and Welsh communities over the first three months of 2023, according to new figures.
The rate of pubs being demolished or redeveloped for other purposes has increased by almost 60% at the start of the year as bumper energy bills have hammered the sector.
Analysis of official Government data by the commercial real estate intelligence firm Altus Group shows that the overall number of pubs in England and Wales, including those vacant and being offered to let, dropped to 39,634 at the end of the first quarter to March 31.
It showed that 153 pubs vanished for good compared with the 39,787 pubs recorded in England and Wales at the end of 2022.
The data showed that 51 pubs were lost each month, accelerating from a reduction of 32 pubs a month during the whole of 2022.
The figures come as soaring energy costs, rising food prices and weakened consumer demand pile pressure on landlords.
The British Beer and Pub Association warned that the average energy bill for a pub would rise by £18,400 a year from this month with the Energy Bill Relief Scheme ending.
The end of the Government energy support for non-households’ energy bills is set to wipe out the benefit seen from reductions to property taxes, according to the real estate advisory firm.
Alex Probyn, president of property tax at Altus Group, said “Pubs have seen their values for the business rates tax fall 17% overall and, with measures taken at last year’s Autumn Statement, that will mean a tax saving of £5,500 for the average pub.
“But that simply won’t compensate for the energy support being lost, making plots even more attractive for alternative investment.”