Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Pubs - the stats

Have just been sent a PDF file from a campaign group re pub closures since 2005. First figure is June 2005, second is June 2007 (that of course being just before the introduction of the smoking ban), third is February 2009.

Bristol East = 127 126 115 (-12)
Bristol North West = 51 51 48 (-3)
Bristol South = 76 78 72 (-4)
Bristol West = 271 276 263 (-8)

Bristol West, for non-locals, covers most of the city centre, hence the proliferation of pubs/ bars there. And Bristol East includes the remaining bit. Not sure quite what this proves - yes, there have been closures, but some are no doubt due to economic factors and increased competition from other premises. Doesn't seem to me that the smoking ban has had the huge impact which its opponents claim.


James Burr said...

Kerry could you explain these figures a bit please? Are those figures pub closures or the number of pubs? It seems bizarre that pub closures nationally are at twenty times what they were in 2007 but Bristol is unchanged.

Also could you (thanks!) post the original pdf or the source of the figures? Something strikes me as suspicious (cherry picking?) about quoting June 2005, June 2007 then February 2008.... Why not June 2008, for example? Whenever I've seen this before it's normally been because someone was up to something fishy, like trying to prove their point by quoting a "blip month" rather than an average or a more representative month.

Thanks in advance.

Kerry said...

It's February 2009 not 2008 - presumably because that's the most recent month for which figures are available. The figures are the number of pubs, apart from the figure in brackets which is the number of closures.

The stats were published by a group campaigning to 'Axe the Beer Tax' and circulated to me by the Chair of the All-Party Beer Group in connection with tomorrow's lobby, so if they have a bias it's not in the direction I think you suspect.

I don't know how to link to pdf documents on here, otherwise I would let you have the whole thing. If you email me - mccarthyk@parliament.uk - I will forward it to you.

Dave H said...

For Bristol East that's almost 10%. I would say that was quite a drop.

"Competition from other premises" I'm not sure what you mean. I thought people were buying at the supermarket and drinking it at home, where at the same time they can enjoy a smoke too.

It would be interesting to know how pub numbers fluctuate long term. My guess is not that much. Plenty of very, very old names are closing down round my neck of the woods.

O/T If myself or any of your other admirers on OH's blog wanted to find out where you live, Kerry, my understanding is we would now have to go to more trouble.

Iain Dale finds this 'shameful'. Tom Harris does not agree with him. If I were in your shoes, I would tend to be slightly more in agreement with Tom.

OH put the matter in a nutshell with a kindly offer to poo* in Tom Harris's flowerbeds if he ever found out (and how many hundreds of miles is it from Essex to Glasgow?). Yet OH was ever the type to be a flowerbed-pooer. To get on a high horse over this I think Iain must have flipped.

*He actually used a more demotic word.

James Burr said...

Thanks Kerry - I appreciate your help. No need to go to that trouble - I think I get what its saying now. And it does look more unpleasant than the actual numbers suggest.

In June 2006 there were 525 pubs across those four areas. In June 2007 this had grown by 1% to 531. However, by 2009 this had dropped by around 6% to 498. Okay it doesn't look too stunning from the actual pub numbers but when you consider that the number of pubs was growing and that growth has not only halted but declined it looks a lot worse. If pubs had been closing at 1% in 2007 that would have been a sixfold increase in pub closures by 2009. But they were'nt dropping by 1%, they were GROWING by 1%. That IS a significant impact in only 20 months....

DaveA said...

Kerry so if I could reasonably prove the smoking ban had lead to massive closures and notable unemployment, would you be Freedom2Choose's champion in Parliament for an amendment to the smoking ban?

James Burr said...

In addition, if Bristol West is the City centre (full of mega-bars with twentysomethings who are more interested in meeting the opposite sex and drinking than smoking) you wouldn't expect to see much of a change (although there has been one). Where you'd expect to see the difference is in the smaller, wet-led boozer that serves an older clientele - the sort who consider that smaller pub to be their "local". If Bristol West in indeed "the rest" of Bristol, I daresay (not knowing Bristol too well) that that is the sort of area that has that older, smaller, pub on the corner, with a darts team and pub dog etc. Here we do indeed see a fall of 10%. That is a BIG drop in only 20 months. And for every pub that goes remember, there is life savings lost, bar staff and cleaners made unemployed etc. I've never heard of these "Axe the Beer Tax" people, but their figures do certainly prove the impact of the smoking ban quite effectively! (I would like to see the June 2008 figures though - that was only a few months into the Credit Crunch but a full year post-smoking ban. They would add a lot).

DaveA said...

Kerry, this is a little rash, the colour red is flashing through my mind. Red rag to a bull? Red mist descending?

Here are the national figures produced by professional organisations who do not have an axe to grind. The most revealing is AC Nielsen who are an independent market research company. I spoke to their Head Of Communications and has supplied me with the following press releases.

This is the basis of their research. “The Nielsen On Trade Audit measures Retail DRINKS sales in Great Britain in Pubs, Clubs, Bars, Hotels and Restaurants, via a structured sample of 3300 On Trade outlets, weighted to represent all GB On Trade Licensed outlets, including managed, tenanted/leased and independent pubs.

The Nielsen consumer survey referred to in this document was polled 8 months after the Scottish smoking ban was enforced, in November 2006 through the Nielsen Homescan Panel of 10,000.
Pub food data was sourced from Nielsen’s Pubtrack service which measures sales in over 8000 managed multiple pubs through EPoS inputs.”

“The wet summer of 2007 has added to the downturn but Nielsen analysts estimate that just under half of the 8% decline can be attributed to the smoking ban.”

“Analysis of a year’s worth of sales data from Scotland following the ban there last March has identified that volume in licensed premises had fallen some 5%. When compared with trends in England and Wales over the same period, the numbers suggest that the majority of this decline (4%) can be attributed to the smoking ban.”

So if 4% out of the 5% is down to the smoking ban then drawing on the two sets of figures between 50% to 80% is down to the smoking ban, more to come.

James Burr said...

Also, sorry - where I said 2006 I of course meant, 2005. The changes still add up though.

DaveA said...

Can I remind you 2,000 pubs alone closed in the first year compared to 206 the corresponding year before and 106 in 2005.

Here is an article from the the publicans trade magazine.

Smoke ban gets trade thumbs down
By John Harrington
26/06/2008 07:20

More than three in four licensees say trade has suffered due to the smoking ban — but consumers overwhelmingly welcome the change.

Those are the findings of exclusive research for the Morning Advertiser on the eve of the first anniversary of the English smoking ban.

The research is in three parts: a survey of Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) member companies, a poll of MA readers and a survey of 2,000 consumers by OnePoll.

The readers’ poll showed 77% of licensees think that trade has suffered as a result of the ban.
Almost two thirds (63%) say business is worse than expected, and 72% predict a “challenging” or “very challenging” outlook for their business.

Three out of five licensees said they had let staff go or reduced their hours.

In addition, 73% want the ban lifted.


DaveA said...

Here is PricewaterHouseCoopers take on pub closures. Kerry would you like more evidence?

"As many as 5,000 pubs and bars in the UK could cease trading by 2011 through a combination of the smoking ban, a clampdown on drinks promotions and declining beer sales, experts have warned." And "Stephen Broome, licensed sector industry specialist at PwC and author of the From Beer to Eternity? report, said: "The experience from Scotland indicates that the overall impact of the [smoking ban] legislation should not be overestimated, but some premises will feel the impact more than others. Drinks-only venues, and those without external spaces for smoking, are likely to be most vulnerable."

They then went onto update this report 30/6/08:

"More than 6,000 pubs in the UK could close in the next five years if they do not deal with the impact of the smoking ban and the current squeeze on customer spending.

According to a report by consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2,000 pubs could cease trading in 2008 alone as the industry continues to struggle to adjust a year after the smoking ban was introduced throughout the UK."

http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/2 ... eport.html

http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/2 ... g-ban.html

DaveA said...

Not forgetting our Chancellor Alistair Darling has agreed with me too. Also here is the URL for the Nielsen reports. They were sent to me on Word and to get an URL I have posted it on F2C's website

"Chancellor Alistair Darling has admitted the smoking ban is forcing pubs out of business – and immediately come under fire from Preston landlords."

"Mr Darling told journalists at Westminster "there is no doubt the smoking ban made a difference" in killing off boozers after the British Beer and Pub Association told MPs the number of failing pubs is now "accelerating rapidly."



bevanite said...

could I controversially suggest that although the closure of businesses isn't something to celebrate, the fact that smoking - related cancers are the only ones actually falling in number is something to be applauded. This is a figure which has been directly linked to the ban and a trend which has been replicated in every other country which has introduced the ban. Darn such erosion of civil liberties.

Kerry said...

OK Dave, that's enough stats from you. And can I make a plea for shorter posts please?

James, point of clarification - I said Bristol East, not West, included the rest of the city centre but it also includes suburbs and council estates. I think the changing demographics - first-time buyers moving into new flats, much bigger Muslim population that even a few years ago, may also be a factor. As for Bristol city centre, it includes the sort of bars you mention but also a fair few 'proper' pubs. I don't know which have closed, but I don't accept your argument that you wouldn't expect to see much a of a change in mega-bars, as you call them - they're often new, speculative ventures which fail to get off the ground, particularly in tough economic times. In Bristol East I know of a few pubs which have closed, and they're traditional 'boozers', but sometimes it's been down to anti-social behaviour problems, and sometimes because there are other pubs close by which, to be frank, are more attractive places to drink. Plus the factors I mentioned - younger people tend to go out in the city centre, rather than to their local 'spit and sawdust' pub and areas such as St George and Brislington in my constituency are increasingly seeing people like that move into houses that have been converted into flats. I'm not saying the smoking ban wasn't a factor - but you can't isolate it as a factor from everything else that has been going on.

Belinda said...

Where does it say that smoking related cancers are down, Bevanite?

DaveA said...

Bevanite would you like to see what impact the smoking ban has had on smoking? The closures of pubs has led to 50,000 people being made unemployed AND smoking is on the increase. The two reasons are that non smokers being made to join their friends outside and taking up the habit. Also all the health nannying has made smoking look cool and anti establishment. What an abject failure the ban has become.

"The survey revealed nearly a third of people between 16-24 are smokers.

In 2004 the number of young smokers in Scotland had fallen to just 25% but by 2007 that figure was 31%.


Smoking ban fails to curb the habit: Figures reveal men are smoking MORE

A survey of almost 7,000 across all age groups found on average there was no change in the number of cigarettes that smokers said they had.

But in men aged 16 to 34, the number rose, by one and a half cigarettes a day.


Kerry said...

Ok, it's a far bet that the alert has gone out on F2C again. Which means I am going to exercise my freedom to choose and not post anything which doesn't directly relate to pub closures, i.e. not rehearsing the whole smoking ban issue again. It's been done to death, if you'll excuse the pun.

I have been very kind, not to mention a little foolhardy, posting these stats - let's keep it local as my concern is what is happening in Bristol, not nationally. And the Bristol stats don't look that dramatic to me.

DaveA said...

Lets keep it local then, here is a report in the Bristol News. You state 27 pubs have closed since the ban began, to Dec 2008 this article says 40 with more to come.

So 40/498 = 8 % of pubs in Bristol have closed.

"The ban on smoking, ....are all factors being blamed for the closures...."To date, more than 40 small, community boozers have been lost – either demolished or given new uses.


Paul said...

I am surpirsed that Stephen Williams has not commented here. Like me his father died of lung cancer - it is a very nasty way to go. He described the smoking ban at a question time event at the students union as his proudest moment as an MP

Kerry said...

I don't think Stephen reads my blog! And he certainly doesn't comment on here.

Dave A - I don't 'say' anything - the stats I quoted are from the Axe the Beer Tax (i.e. anti pub closure) campaign. I assume they would have presented the most favourable stats to their cause.

Old Holborn said...

I brew my own beer

25p a pint. 5% Alcohol and no added "organic " propylene glycol alginate

Sod standing with the great unwashed in a filthy pub with a fat wheezing labrador hoovering up crisps off the sticky carpet and a 5 year old pickled egg behind the bar staring at me whilst some nylon football shirted land whale with BO tells me about X factor or Girls Aloud arses.


SteveL said...

1. you can't use the evening post as a source of unbiased information, any more than any other part of the Daily Mail.

2. I live in BRS west, and most of my locals: Highbury Vaults, Kingdown Vaults, Cotham Porter Stores, Micawbers, Scotsman are all fine.

3. What has just recently picked up a for-lease sign is the Kings Arms, of Little Paul Street. That was a very local -drink and watch football matches- places.

There are lot of other economic factors at work -energy costs, the price differential between supermarket prices for commodity lager and pub selling prices, cultural changes (large screen TVs at home?). Presumably the publicans are pushing back on smoking bans because its something that can be overturned.

Kerry said...

Belinda - can't you take a hint? I am not going to post your comment, no matter how often you try. It's O/T. I'm not getting into the does smoking cause cancer debate all over again.

Belinda said...

Sorry Kerry, not sure what you mean. I only attempted to post once tonight and the comment has gone up (it was O/T, but it was in response to Bevanite, and at the time you hadn't made an issue of it. I haven't tried to post it or anything else since. It may be that someone has been trying to impersonate me!!!

timbone said...

Hello Kerry. Bet you wondered where I was. Busy composing, but always have time for you.
Pub closures, in Bristol as everywhere else are pretty bad arn't they. City centre premises and student areas are riding the storm pretty well though, as are the gastric pubs. If a licensed premises has the facilities to provide what is really a licensed restaurant, catering for families, even with a childrens play area in some cases, then they are fine.
Unfortunately, the small or average sized traditional British style pubs, often with no outside area at all, are closing at an alarming rate. Cheap supermarket booze had already eaten into their profits, it had been there for years, but they were coping with that. The current economic crisis is a useful smokescreen, I am afraid however that it is tobacco smoke. Why did the Labour Party break their manifesto pledge?, because the RCP and ASH and others said that SHS was going to kill bar workers. If the UK were ever to amend the ban and fall in line with most of the other EU Countries, it will have to be soon, because there will not be any pubs left for bar workers to suffer in.

Kerry said...

Belinda - they're still coming through, had three more attempts in the last half hour. Must be a techno-blip. You are forgiven!

ChrisB said...

I find it hard to work out where these closure figures come from. The most obvious source would be from the licencing authority. If this is the case closed pubs will retain but not use their licences in case they are reopened.
Looking closer to my home in a much smaller place than Bristol there are 5 closed pubs waiting for new owners/tenants and 3 of them have already applied for change of use so it would appear there has been no reduction in the number of licenced premises. The majority of the others are still open but trying to sell their leases.

Kerry said...

OK, to quote the chair of the All- Party Beer Group: the stats were commissioned by the All-Party Group with support from CAMRA, the British Beer and Pub Association, and market analysts CGA Strategy who produced the figures.

This work has been commissioned in support of the 'Axe the Beer Tax' campaign, i.e. a pro-pub lobby, so I think it's unlikely that they would be under-estimating the number of closures by simply looking at licences granted and still in operation. They have a vested interest in making the numbers look bad, so I'm sceptical of any suggestion that the figures are under-stating the position.

timbone said...

I would say that there are two ways to find out which pubs have closed, get the figures from the local authority as to how many authorised licensed public houses there are, or go round with a clipboard, putting a tick or a cross as to whether the pub is boarded up or not. I think it was less than a year ago that Scotland said that there had been no pub closures since the smoking ban in that part of the UK, in fact, there had been a small increase. This confused many people who saw boarded up premises aplenty, especially in out of town/city areas. As ChrisB quite rightly pointed out, those authorised licences appertaining to named premises remain on the books for three years, despite no fresh application.