IN ONE form or another, pubs have been a part of Britain's social fabric since the Roman times as places to gather, socialise, entertain and even to bolster each other in the toughest times.They're a precious part of everyday life and their appeal remains undiminished - but that could all change.
By ESTHER MCVEY
13:45, Sat, Dec 18, 2021 | UPDATED: 16:13, Sat, Dec 18, 2021
William Robinson, co-owner of sixth-generation family-run Robinson Brewery, and owners of 250 pubs across the north of England and Wales, told me their pubs stayed open during the Spanish flu, and through both world wars.Their pubs have only closed once in their 300-year history - to abide by the Covid lockdown rules.
Five percent of pubs closed for good in 2020 and another five percent are set to close in 2021 - that's 5,000 pubs gone and who knows what will happen in 2022, particularly given how last week's Plan B announcements hit the industry, with a tidal wave of cancellations - four million and counting - as people unbooked dinners and Christmas parties.
Pub Christmas bookings were already down by nine percent, with many barely holding on to their business by their fingertips, but the latest announcements by government and scientists will close another slew of pubs, as industry surveys expect bookings to fall by about 40 percent.
Emma McClarkin, below, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: "We could be entering some of the bleakest months ahead as the bank has lent all it will give and the life savings of these companies are gone. Businesses are on the line."