TORFAEN has lost more than a third of its pubs since 2010, new data shows.

Across the area, 20 pubs and bars have closed their doors for good.

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, show that in 2010 there were 60 pubs and bars but by 2017 that had fallen to 40.

Across the UK 5,745 pubs closed over the period, and there are 54 local authorities where 30 or more shut.

Pubs have been pointing the finger of blame at the taxman for their troubles, complaining about the duty on beer, VAT levels and the cost of business rates.

Britain’s Beer Alliance, a group of organisations in the pub and brewing sector, has started a campaign called Long Live the Local with a petition and calls for people to write to their MP to have beer duty reduced.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “We are calling on the Government to cut beer duty in the upcoming November budget.

“Seven in ten alcoholic drinks sold in a pub are beer, so cutting beer duty is the most direct way of helping pubs. This is why we are backing the Long Live the Local campaign to cut beer tax.”

A spokesperson for the Treasury said: “90 per cent of pubs across the country can benefit from the business rates relief introduced at Budget 2017, which could save them up to £1,000 a year.

“In addition, both businesses and their customers have saved around £3 billion since 2013 thanks to changes to alcohol duty.”

The latest data from the ONS shows that between 2016 and 2017, 655 pubs and bars called time for the last time.

In Torfaen around five disappeared.

A change in consumer habits, with people drinking at home more often, has been blamed for fewer people visiting pubs.

Ms Simmonds said that many now offered much more than just a drink.

She said: “Pubs have responded to changing drinking habits with a more diverse offering, such as coffee, live music, wifi, creating experiences and food.

“Pubs now serve one billion meals a year and are at the forefront of modern British cooking.”

The news follows a performance by popular punk-rock duo Slaves in a 100-person independent venue in Pontypool.

The Dragonffli owner, Nick Byrne, echoed concerns of VAT levels.

He said: “Even things like sugar tax hasn’t helped - they said that diet and zero sugar drinks wouldn’t be effected yet prices have increased.

“Chains are always looked after yet the independents aren’t.”