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  1. ITV Report

Pubs in the West Midlands hit hard by closures

12 pubs close every week across England, Scotland and Wales Photo: ITV Central News

Pubs in the West Midlands have been hardest hit by closures, according to a study.

Twelve pubs close per week across England, Wales and Scotland. In the six months between September 2011 and March this year 37 pubs shut in the West Midlands.

The Government has been warned that the "crippling" beer taxes threaten the future of the industry.

Real ale campaign group Camra said more than 33,000 consumers have now signed a national e-petition calling for an end to above-inflation beer tax increases in response to a 42% increase in duty since 2008.

Camra's chief executive Mike Benner said: "Whether situated in a small village, city high street, or on the edge of a housing estate, pubs are so central to our society that whole communities can grow around a particular pub.

"A threat to the future of traditional pubs is therefore also a threat to countless social groups within Britain that thrive because of their local.

"Unsustainable beer tax increases by the Government are ripping the heart out of community centres, but with over 33,000 consumers having recently signed the beer tax e-petition, beer drinkers and pub-goers are actively voicing their discontent."

"A threat to the future of traditional pubs is also a threat to countless social groups within Britain that thrive because of their local.

– Mike Benner, Camra

Community Pubs Minister Bob Neill said: "This Government is already taking decisive action to support community pubs. We have doubled small business rate relief for two-and-a-half years, which gives up to 100% rate relief for small firms including pubs.

"Country pubs may also be eligible for rural business rate relief. On top of this, we have abolished the last government's cider tax, are cutting red tape on live music in pubs and are stopping unfair sales of alcohol below cost-price by supermarkets.

"We are also giving local councils new powers to introduce local business rate discounts, which could support pubs which offer community facilities."