”1000 pubs dreigen gesloten te worden”

Uit een van de eerste onderzoeken die zijn gehouden naar de gevolgen van het rookverbod voor de Engelse pubs blijkt dat veel pubs in de problemen zijn gekomen doordat omzetten met 20-40% zijn gedaald. Duizenden pubs, bingo hallen en arbeidersclubs vechten om te overleven, blijkt uit het onderzoek. Het onderzoek werd uitgevoerd door de Sunday Mirror.

Volgens een woordvoerder van een horecaorganisatie dreigen 1000 pubs failliet te gaan. Een historische pub in Leicester moet gesubsidieerd worden om te overleven. De gemeente verlaagde de huur van het etablissement van 447 pond per maand naar 5 pond.

Volgens het artikel zijn de verkopen van bier in Schotland sinds de invoering van het rookverbod met 7% gedaald en heeft 34% van de pubs personeel moeten ontslaan. In Ierland dalen sinds 2004 (rookverbod) de bierverkopen met 7% per jaar.

Pub takings are down by as much as 40 per cent as smokers choose to drink at home, say landlords in the first major survey into the impact of the monthold ban. Profits at many bingo halls are down between 10 and 20 per cent, and there are fears hundreds could go to the wall. More than half the 70 pubs, members-only clubs and bingo halls we contacted have lost business since the ban started on July 1.

Small town-centre pubs and bars in inner-city areas are the worst affected with profits down an average 20 per cent, mainly because they have no outside area for smokers to light up.

Bob Collins, landlord of the British Oak pub in Birmingham city centre, whose sales are down 40 per cent, said: “Even though we’re in the heart of things, we’ve been hit pretty badly. We can’t afford fancy outdoor furniture with patio heaters so people are just staying away.”

A barmaid at Bordesley Labour Working Men’s Club in nearby Small Heath said: “We’re much quieter. Profits have dropped drastically.”

Simon Olley, landlord of Beacon Court Tavern in Gillingham, Kent, said: “We’ve had a slide of about 10 to 20 per cent. I’d like to know where the nonsmokers that were supposed to be coming into pubs when the ban was introduced are. I haven’t seen any.”

Susan Orgee, of Majestic bingo club in Worcester, said: “Takings are definitely down. Half the customers go outside in the interval to smoke, so we’re losing money from the bar.”

At Manchester’s Waldorf Hotel, landlord Wayne Nuttall said: “I’ve lost up to a quarter of my trade.”

Malcolm Jones, manager of the Nags Head in the city centre, said trade was down 25 per cent, adding: “We’ve got a roof garden but when it’s pouring with rain the ban does hit us.”

Lesley Webster, manageress at the Black Boy pub, in Sidcup, Kent, said: “The place is like a mortuary during the day, and even at weekends there’s been times when we’ve only had two or three people in the pub. One problem is supermarkets doing such cheap deals on alcohol.”

Bar manager Candy Blackshaw, at the Euston Flyer in Central London, said: “It’s been very quiet since the ban came into force. Drink and food sales are down – we’ve lost business.”

At the Globe pub in Truro, Cornwall, where trade is down a quarter, boss Dave Crawford said: “A lot of smokers are drinking at home with friends.”

A spokesman for Club Grand Bingo in Bournemouth, said: “We’re experiencing a definite loss in trade because people are constantly walking outside to have a cigarette and not spending money inside.”

But Jed Spedding, of the Open Arms in Chillington, Devon, said more people were coming to his pub for meals. He said: “My locals are taking the ban in their stride.”

And Richard Slade, of the British Institute of Inn Keeping, said sales were up in some bars. He added: “It’s early days and the weather has been really bad.”

But in Scotland, where the ban was introduced in March last year, beer sales are down seven per cent and 34 per cent of pubs have laid off staff.

In Ireland, where smoking was banned in 2004, sales are falling by seven per cent a year.

The packet inn

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