Pub. Short for Public House. For hundreds of years, pubs have been an essential part of British culture; a place for community gathering and enjoyment. So why would a pub close down all of a sudden? Recently, the Duke of York pub near Whitton closed its doors for the last time, and that particular pub is far from being the only establishment of its kind to come to the same decision over recent years; in fact the British Pub association have said that around 27 pubs close every week.

So why is it that pubs have suddenly started to close down? What factors have come into play, acting as a catalyst for this change? One factor is unarguably the rise in prices of alcohol (and beer in particular) over the last 15 years. It is thought that the biggest driver behind this change is tax, drink duties have caused the prices of drinks to increase much faster than the general rate of inflation: thereby causing the prospect of a visit to the pub much less appealing.

Another reason could be in the increasing backlash against the consumption of alcohol as more and more people begin to fully understand the health risks associated with the substance. However, it also seems that rising house prices are having an impact of pub land-lords who are being tempted into “cashing in” and selling their properties rather than attempting to continue their business. A local resident who lives next to the Duke of York pub, Debbie Gardner said that, “the people in the area are changing,” and this leads on to another reason which could be that the changing demographic and increased cultural diversity (especially in cities such as London) have led to fewer customers in pubs.

So is this the full story when it comes to the reasons behind the demise of the once thriving pub industry? Research shows that the number of pubs which have dissapeared over the last 10 years is now close to exceeding 20% of the number of pubs which existed in 2007. So when is enough? Will we reach a point when pubs are close to extinction, or will changes in the government and laws lead to the rebirth of the industry?

Farhan Hussain.