Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Pubs in decline. Music is small beer...

The British Beer & Pub Association published this week a report on the decline of British pubs. An average of 52 pubs closed every week in 2008 with an estimated 24 000 jobs lost.... By historical standards it's a very high level and a true cause for concern to see this British institution in such decline.

The BBPA are quick to point the finger at increased regulation and taxation as the cause for the decline - althought without actually researching why people are not going to the pub it is a bit bold to come to a conclusion. Other reports - you can find it in the Times, Financial Times and The Telegraph for instance - raise other factors into the equation.

City pubs are faring much better than country pubs, and pubs focussing on food are doing better than those that are out and out drinkers pubs. One report suggested that tied* pubs are particularly hard hit, suggesting that it is monopolistic practices in the brewing trade that are at least as much to blame as government tax policy, and the high level of rents are a long standing issue of concern for landlords.

But.. go back to the beginning and read again... 24 000 jobs lost in the pub industry. Real jobs. People that worked last year that don't have the same job this year. Now compare that with the estimated cost to the economy of free downloads in the UK. A postulated four thousand jobs lost in 2004.

So... the crisis at your local is hurting the economy six times more than any potential loss of sales to file sharing. Remember that the next time someone down the pub starts rattling on about the costs of piracy.

Music is small beer... go have another pint!

*A tied pub is independantly run, but under obligation to buy beer from a particular supplier - often above the market rate.

The Pirate Party & Piratpartiet are working for copyright reform. Can't you add cheap beer to the manifesto guys?

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