Last orders for British pubs?

Camra says local pubs are the heart of communities Credit: CPROD REUTERS/Toby Melville

The real ale campaign group Camra says that British pubs are closing at a rate of 12 per week, and that above-inflation tax on beer is partly to blame.

Lancashire and the West Midlands are most severely affected by pub closures, their study found. Pubs in towns are closing twice as fast as those in the countryside.

The boarded up exterior of the Raven Inn near Winsford, Cheshire Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Camra is urging people to sign its e-petition calling for an end toabove-inflation beer tax increases in response to a 42% increase in duty since2008. More than 33,000 have signed up so far.

The group's chief executive Mike Benner said: "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."