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6,000 hospitality venues closed in 2023

Published:  30 January, 2024

New data released today (30 January) has revealed more than 6,000 hospitality venues closed in 2023, bringing the total number of closures since the pandemic to nearly 23,000.

The figures also reveal that new openings in the sector have reduced for the third year in a row. Since 2020, there have been just short of 12,000 new venue openings in the UK.

The data, from CGA by NIQ and AlixPartners, comes amidst a backdrop of intense pressure for on-trade establishments, as they contend with a ‘cost-of-doing-business’ crisis.

Responding to the figures, UKHospitality has outlined three proposals to the government ahead of the Spring Budget to help drive much-needed revenue into the sector.

The first is a 3% cap on business rate increases – the proposed 6.7% increase to business rates for up to 20,000 hospitality businesses could further increase closures, according to the trade body.

UKHospitality would also like to see temporary changes to employer National Insurance Contributions in the form of a 10% cut in the lower rate of employer NICs, to help businesses manage the increase in the National Living Wage.

Lastly, the trade body is seeking a lower rate of VAT for hospitality, leisure and tourism. According to UKH, a 12.5% VAT rate is proven to boost demand, generate revenue and keep prices low.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “These stark closure figures underline the seismic challenges facing hospitality businesses. It is now a case of supporting the sector or losing many businesses for good.

“It’s clear that endless price rises and an ever-growing tax burden has left businesses on the cliff-edge, and has deterred investment. Venues have had no choice but to use their cash reserves to pay bills, keep the lights on and help people remain in jobs, instead of investing in and growing their businesses.

“This is unsustainable. Cities, towns and villages are being robbed of vital assets that are essential to our local economies, but more importantly to the wellbeing of local communities.

“With the right action from the government, this can be a short-term blip and the sector can fulfil its potential in driving economic growth, attracting investment and creating jobs.

“Measures to help reduce business rates and wage bills will help businesses immediately, while a lower rate of VAT will benefit the nation, businesses and consumers for decades to come.

“I urge the chancellor to recognise the perilous situation that lay in front of him and act now to protect businesses that truly deliver back to communities, in every part of the country.”

Closures of licensed hospitality businesses:

Dec 20 to Dec 21: 7,881

Dec 21 to Dec 22: 8,798

Dec 22 to Dec 23: 6,180

Total closures since Dec 20: 22,859

Openings of licensed hospitality businesses:

Dec 20 to Dec 21: 4,532

Dec 21 to Dec 22: 3,989

Dec 22 to Dec 23: 3,222

Total openings since Dec 20: 11,743