The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) will today slam the Government for its failure to protect pubs, which are closing at a faster rate than ever across the UK.

The number of pubs closing rose from 36 a week in the first half of 2008 to 39 a week in the second six-month period. Nearly 2,000 pubs ceased trading in total in 2008, up from just over 1,400 the year before.

The figures come with Parliament today set to debate the new Police & Crime Bill, which will hand pubs extra responsibility for dealing with antisocial behaviour connected to excessive drinking – measures that industry figures claim will cost operators £300m a year.

"With pubs closing at a record rate and job losses escalating, it is truly staggering that the Government is proposing to hit the sector with a £300m bill for extra red tape this year alone," said BBPA chief executive Rob Hayward.

"In fact, the Government openly state they believe that their new regulations will lead to more pub closures and job losses. Some 44,000 jobs have been lost across the sector in the last couple of years and 59,000 more jobs will go unless action is taken."

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