UK Pubs Continue to Shut Down

February 28, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. pub /pʌb/ (n.) – a place for drinking alcoholic beverages
Example: We went to the pub to drink beer.

2. shut down /ʃʌtdaʊn/ (v.) – to stop operating or to close a business
Example: The restaurant shut down after months of low sales.

3. settle for /ˈsɛt lfɔr/ (phrasal v.) – to do or to accept something less than what one prefers
Example: He wanted an expensive drink but he settled for the cheaper ones instead.

4. make matters worse /meɪk ˈmætərs wɜrs/ (idiom) – to worsen an already difficult situation
Example: The tax increase made matters worse for small business owners.

5. petition /pəˈtɪʃən/ (n.) – a formal request given to authorities and is signed by many people
Example: The group made a petition to reduce government taxes.


Read the text below.
A study reveals that the British pub industry is at risk as more pubs in the United Kingdom continue to shut down, causing a drop in beer consumption.

In the study “Closing Time” by the Institute of Economic Affairs, author Christopher Snowdon exposed how pub closures occurred more often in the recent years. Since 1980, about 21,000 pubs in the United Kingdom had closed. Notably, 10,000 or almost half of those pub closures happened only between 2006 and 2013.

Snowdon cited the decreased beer consumption among Britons as a cause for the shutdowns. The report showed that alcohol consumers dropped by 18 percent since 2004. Pubs have also experienced a 54 percent drop in beer sales since 2003.

Government taxes imposed on alcohol drinks caused beer prices in pubs to go up. The beer duty tax escalator—a tax that increased beer prices by two percent above inflation rate per year—was introduced in 2008 and will end this 2015. This trend caused many consumers to settle for beers at supermarkets and drink at home.

In addition, the government’s 2007 policy that banned smoking in enclosed public places made matters worse. Though smoking was still allowed in particular pubs, the percentage of pub customers who smoked decreased from 54% to below 40% within two years.

With a rate of 31 closures a week, more pubs are expected to close in the coming years. To help prevent this from happening, pub supporters from Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) have called out the government to revise its laws on taxation through a signed petition. The organization successfully petitioned the scrapping of beer duty tax escalator.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Is it good news that the drinking population in the United Kingdom dropped? Why or why not?
·         How do you think the smoking ban policy affected British smokers?

Discussion B

·         How popular are beerhouses in Japan?
·         What are the effects of drinking alcoholic beverages?

February 28, 2015