PUBS across the region have responded to a report released this week that there are 7,000 fewer watering holes in the UK over the last ten years.

The total number of pubs dropped below 40,000 during the first half of 2022.

Pubs that have disappeared from communities have been demolished or converted into other buildings like homes and offices, the research from real estate advisers Altus Group says.

The hospitality sector has faced immense challenges in recent years as it recovered from the pandemic, which saw national lockdowns causing closures and reduced demand.

Many of the pubs point to staffing issues and the cost of living crisis as the two biggest problems that the trade currently faces. 

Lloyd Price, owner of The Westmorland Inn in Bowness said: "Undoubtedly the trade has changed over the last ten years. We are not able to get staff like we used to. Furlough helped but it was not the level of pay that staff were used to, especially after National Insurance and tax.

"They have gone to other jobs and not come back. The pandemic and Brexit came so close together that the industry has struggled to respond." 

Despite this, Mr Price said pubs in Bowness had been doing well because of 'investment into staff training and creating the right environment for customers.'

He admits that this is in part down to Bowness being a tourist centre and does not 'think this is the same across the country.' 

Heather Wilson, co-owner of The Pheasant Inn in Kirkby Lonsdale, said: "Some of our staff were not willing to come because of the price of petrol. Staff levels are not what they once were across hospitality. I don't know if it's because hospitality is a hard industry to work in. 

"Brexit did not help too. We used to have a French company that would bring people to come across to learn English.

"I would say pubs have shifted. People get cheaper alcohol in the supermarket so will only come out for special occasions."

Lesley Wheeler, owner of The Bay Horse pub in Ulverston, also said it was short-staffed, however she said it was taking on more staff in the next month: "Until pre-Brexit it was brilliant. We had lovely staff and then we had Brexit and then we had COVID. 

"We were exceptionally busy after the pandemic. We shut Christmas day for the first time in thiry years to have a break. It was just front of house but now we are short in the kitchen."