Drop in pub trade across Derbyshire Dales

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Derbyshire Dales saw a drop in its pub trade last year despite the number of locals across the UK rising for the first time in over a decade.

Industry bodies have cautiously welcomed the national increase, but have called for tax breaks to ensure the survival of the “great British pub”.

Office for National Statistics data shows that the pumps were pouring at around 130 public houses in Derbyshire Dales in 2019 – a slight drop from the previous year, when there were 135.

In 2007, there were 155 boozers open in the area.

The introduction of the smoking ban in the same year, the impact of the Great Recession and a rise in alcohol duty in 2008 have all been blamed for landlords calling last orders since.

Across the UK, a 1% rise in the numbers of establishments last year to just over 39,000 was the first increase since 2007, when the figure stood at 51,000.

The number of small pubs – those with fewer than ten employees – also rose for the first time since 2002.

National chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Nik Antona “cautiously” welcomed the fact that pubs – especially smaller ones – appeared to be bouncing back after years of closures.

He said: “Unfortunately pubs continue to close across the country, particularly in small or rural communities.

“This means the loss of the social, cultural and economic benefits that come with a well-run local.”

CAMRA is calling on the government to review business rates and lower the tax rate on beer sold in pubs.

Mr Antona added: “We urge that these asks are reflected in the forthcoming budget to help save the great British pub.”

While the number of locals across the UK has dropped in the long-term, there are more employees working in pubs on average than a decade ago.

In 2007, the average pub in the UK employed five people.

Now, the figure stands at eight.

In Derbyshire Dales, a similar trend has been seen, with the average pub employing 8.5 staff in 2019, up from four in 2007.

A treasury spokesman said: “Small pubs and bars are part of the heart and soul of our communities – so it’s great news they are on the rise.”