LONDON, May 8 (UPI) -- A pint at the local pub may be a time-honored British tradition, but the Campaign for Real Ale said the number of pubs closing jumped in the past six months.
The campaign said Tuesday the average was 26 a week, up from 18 a week in the previous six months. Britain now has 57,000 pubs, the Daily Mirror reported, the same number patronized by a much smaller population a century ago.
CAMRA hailed Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne's decision to drop the beer duty escalator, which has raised the price of beer. The government also has announced plans to crack down on "exploitative" chain owners, and CAMRA itself is campaigning to have more pubs listed as historical landmarks.
"We believe that the scrapping of the beer duty escalator and the extra 1p off beer duty announced in this year's budget could mark a turning point for pubs," the group said in a statement. "With a better deal on beer tax, the government's plans for pub company reform and the 'List Your Local' scheme, announced during CAMRA's Community Pubs Month, we are hopeful that the fortunes of Britain's pubs are set to change."