Dec 25 2012
One in three villages has seen a local pub or shop close in the past year, according to new research.
Wales and the North West were the worst-hit parts of the country, with almost half of some villages losing a pub, while Northern Ireland had the highest number of rural shop closures, a survey of 1,250 rural residents showed.
Insurance firm NFU Mutual said more supermarkets were moving into rural areas, with one in five of those questioned saying a new store had opened in their area in the past 12 months.
Richard Percy, chairman of NFU Mutual, said: "As well as damaging social life, the closures of pubs and the loss of other local amenities jeopardise the work of local voluntary and support groups in areas where finding suitable community venues can be a real problem."
Confidence in the strength of local economies was low, the report added.