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Last orders! 135 pubs close across Black Country and Staffordshire in 8 years

By Pete Madeley | Business | Published:

More than 130 pubs have closed down across the Black Country and parts of Staffordshire in the last eight years, new figures have revealed.

The Pyle Cock Inn in Wednesfield closed in 2016.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there are now 95 less pubs in the Black Country than there were in 2010, a drop of 14 per cent.

Over the same period Cannock, Stafford, South Staffordshire and Lichfield have lost 40 pubs (11 per cent).

Across the UK, a total of 5,745 pubs closed over the period, and there are 54 local authorities where 30 or more have shut their doors.

The Roebuck on Stafford Road, Cannock, has closed and is up for sale.

The pub trade has pointed the finger of blame at the Government for the closures, saying high beer duty, VAT levels and business rate levels are sending boozers to the wall.

A total of 135 have gone in the Black Country and parts of Staffordshire.

Dudley has been one of the worst hit areas in the country, losing 35 out of a total of 225 pubs. These include The Hearty Goodfellow, The Struggling Man and The Dog and Partridge.

In Wolverhampton 25 pubs have gone, including The Pyle Cock Inn in Wednesfield, The Hop Pole on Oxley Moor Road and The Staffordshire Volunteer in Bushbury.

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The figures show that Walsall has lost 20 of 150 pubs and bars since 2010, leaving 130 pubs in the borough, while 15 pubs have gone in Sandwell.

Cannock Chase has lost more than one in five of its pubs since 2010, including The Roebuck on Stafford Road, which shut down earlier this year and remains boarded up.

The Struggling Man in Dudley closed in 2015 and is now a pizza takeaway.

Stafford now has 10 less pubs than it did in 2010, as does South Staffordshire, while Lichfield has lost five pubs.

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Campaigners say they face an uphill battle to keep pubs open.

Britain’s Beer Alliance, a group of organisations in the pub and brewing sector, has started the ‘Long Live the Local’ petition, calling for people to write to their MP to have beer duty reduced.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “We are calling on the Government to cut beer duty in the upcoming November budget.

“Seven in ten alcoholic drinks sold in a pub are beer, so cutting beer duty is the most direct way of helping pubs. This is why we are backing the Long Live the Local campaign to cut beer tax.”

The Staffordshire Volunteer pub closed and was sold by brewery Punch Taverns.

A change in consumer habits – with people drinking at home more often – has been blamed for fewer people visiting pubs.

Ms Simmonds said that many now offered much more than just a drink.

She said: “Pubs have responded to changing drinking habits with a more diverse offering, such as coffee, live music, wifi, creating experiences and food.

“Pubs now serve one billion meals a year and are at the forefront of modern British cooking. They also have 50,000 bedrooms.”

Tom Stainer, the chief communications officer for CAMRA, said pubs play a vital role in communities. “In many areas and villages, they provide the last remaining public meeting space, with meeting halls and post offices already lost,” he said.

“They also create jobs and bring money into local areas, which tend to be spent in the local area, as compared to large chain cafes.

“Many pubs help to support the night time economy in town centres

.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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