Patrick Christys: We’re losing our pubs, the Great British Boozer is about to be a thing of the past

After lockdown, loads of elderly people cried tears of joy as their local pub reopened – for them, it’s not a place run by a company, it is just simply…company

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We have a crisis on our hands, ladies and gentlemen. We’re losing our pubs. The Great British Boozer is about to be a thing of the past.

Britain lost almost 1,000 pubs and restaurants in the three months after the lockdown fully lifted. Between July and September this year, 980 sites, or 16 per day, closed due to pandemic . Labour shortages, supply issues, and rising food and drinks costs have hit licensed premises and caused the closures.

Take Bristol as the example, as a case study… the city now has less than half the 600 boozers it once had. Campaigners are warning entire districts within the city face no longer having a pub nearby. This is unacceptable.

It may come as a shock to you all at home to learn that I, believe it or not, love the pub. I love pub. Je suis pub.

Where I grew up my local burnt down, I wore black for a month and laid a wreath outside. The pub isn’t just about booze, it isn’t just about football, sticky carpets, slot machines, late night headbutts in the carpark…The pub is a place of sanctuary, it’s a social hub, it’s a place to put the world to rights, discuss politics, moan about your other half.

After lockdown, loads of elderly people cried tears of joy as their local pub reopened – for them, it’s not a place run by a company, it is just simply…company.

But pub closures are not a new thing - About 13,000 closed between 2001 and 2018 due to a combination of high business rates and increasing red tape.

It’s been a slow death. A slow death that drives people to drink indoors, in their own homes. This might sound stupid but it isn’t – closing pubs, causes alcoholism. When people shut themselves away in their front rooms with no throwing out time, cheaper booze, no fear of appearing drunk in public, they drink more.

And this also means the slow death of community. In many rural areas the local pub is the lifeblood of that community. It’s the beating heart of the town, the village and if that closes, if that shuts, it rips the soul out of an area.

The pub industry is also a major employer – some 900,000 people work in pubs across the UK. The pub industry contributes £23.6bn to the UK economy every single year.

So, it is your national economic duty to go down to your local pub and get absolutely sloshed on a regular basis.

People of Britain, I have a message for you. The next time your other half tells you that you’re spending too much time at the pub, politely inform them that you’re doing your civic duty, you’re keeping the cogs of this country grinding, the wheels turning, you, are a hero. You are a national treasure. You owe it to yourselves, your ancestors and all those who will come after you to go down to the Nag’s Head and drink the place dry (but responsibly).

When I think of Britain I think of the white cliffs of Dover, I think of 1966, I think of red buses, I think of rolling, beautiful countryside, I think of our dear Queen.

But more, much more than that, I think of the local pub and all who gather within it. Britain. Do your duty. Go to the pub.