More than 4,000 pubs will go out of business in the next two years as beer sales fall and higher bills crush profits, according to insolvency specialists at PwC.

Sixty-four pub businesses went bust in the third quarter – more than double the number in the same period last year and nearly triple the number in 2006.

Stephen Broome, PwC’s hospitality and leisure director, said: 'This is the start of a rapid period of acceleration of pub closures as more and more businesses give up the unequal struggle.'

A combination of factors, including the smoking ban and the aggressive marketing of alcohol by supermarkets, had helped encourage people to drink in their homes rather than pubs and bars.

Financial Times