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Two in every five Fenland pubs have called last orders and closed in the past 10 years

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Two in every five pubs in Fenland have closed in the last decade, new figures show.

With nearly a quarter of the UK’s pubs taking their last orders since 2008, the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) says communities suffer as small local pubs are lost.

The Ship Inn at Manea has been closed for around a decade. (5667206)
The Ship Inn at Manea has been closed for around a decade. (5667206)

There are now around 55 pubs and bars in Fenland, an estimated 35 fewer than in 2008, figures from the Office of National Statistics show.

The situation has been reflected across the East of England, where 22 per cent of pubs and bars have closed in the last 10 years. There are now 3,430 in the region.

The ONS’s "Economics of Ale" report shows that there are 11,000 fewer pubs and bars nationwide than before the 2008 recession.

But the turnover of the pub industry has remained strong, as larger chains focus on bigger bars at the expense of smaller pubs.

While the number of establishments has declined, there are more employees working in pubs than there were ten years ago. The report suggests this may be because surviving pubs have moved onto offering more labour-intensive services such as food or accommodation.

In 2008, the average pub in the UK employed five people. Now, the figure stands at eight.

In Fenland, a similar trend has been seen, with the average pub employing five staff in 2018, up from three in 2008. Despite this, there has been a drop of 11 per cent in the total Fenland pub workforce, to 400 this year.

Camra has called for reform to business rates and cuts in beer duty to help tackle the loss of pubs. It also wants a full review of the Pubs Code, which governs the relationship between firms who own 500 or more pubs and their tenants.

The organisation's chief campaigns and communications officer, Tom Stainer, said: “These shocking new figures show the huge loss that has been felt by communities up and down the country as beloved locals have closed down.

“By focusing on the stability of turnover from pubs and bars since the recession this study fails to measure the loss of the benefits that local pubs bring to their communities.

“Pubs play a unique role in offering a social environment to enjoy a drink with friends, they help combat isolation and loneliness and help people feel connected to their community.

"With a quarter of pubs closing in the last decade, we need the Government to act now to save our pubs from extinction.”

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