Year of stability for London’s pubs

Year of stability for London’s pubs

The number of pubs in London remained stable between 2017 and 2018, after falling by more than a quarter since 2001, research by City Hall shows.

In March 2018, there were 3,540 pubs in the capital, an increase of 10 pubs from 2017. A total of 11 boroughs saw an increase in pubs, with numbers staying the same in nine boroughs, but falling in 13. The boroughs to see an increase were Brent, Bromley, Croydon, Hackney, Harrow, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Westminster.

The number of small pubs in London fell by more than half between 2001 and 2018, but these new figures do show signs of improvement as the number of both small and large pubs in the capital have increased slightly between 2017 and 2018. There are now more large pubs in the capital than there were in 2001.

Employment across the pub sector also remained stable between 2017 and 2018 at 46,000. However, despite recent improvements, a large proportion of jobs in London pubs continue to be paid below the London Living Wage.

Research shows that, despite ongoing pressures, pubs remain a key part of life in the city. A City Hall survey shows 74% of Londoners think they’re important for London’s cultural heritage, with 45% visiting a pub at least once a month. The reasons for visiting a pub are to socialise with friends (68%) and eat (27%). Pubs are also an important tourist attraction, with previous research showing 54% of international visitors went to a pub during their stay in the capital.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is said to be showing support for the pub trade, including tough new planning rules to protect venues in his draft London Plan – including protecting beer gardens and ensuring new developments are soundproofed – as well as establishing a world-first Culture at Risk Office to help support pubs at risk of closure.

Khan has also called on the government to review its valuation policy for pubs following large rises in business rates and ensure these crucial community hubs are supported.

“London pubs have been a key part of our capital’s heritage for generations, helping to unite Londoners and acting as a vital hub in the community,” says Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London.

“Sadly their numbers have been falling for decades, which is why I’ve been doing all I can to support the trade and turn this tide of closures. I’m encouraged by these results, but with pressure from rates, rent and development, it’s crucial that the government and local authorities give them their full support too.”