A look into the effects modern Britain has on old traditions
By Jason Groves
Domesday Book 2010: Strip clubs soaring, libraries disappearing… the figures which lay bare life in modern Britain
The changing face of Britain under Labour has been laid bare in a modern Domesday Book.
It shows how traditional pubs, post offices and libraries have gone by the wayside.
In their place bookmakers, nightclubs and supermarket chains have flourished.
Figures produced by the Government paint a striking picture of the way in which the country has changed since 1997.
They reveal a sharp decline in many of the traditional businesses and services which once sustained community life.
The Tories said the statistics show how Labour has failed to protect vital services on which millions rely.
The number of police stations has fallen by 160, the number of hospitals and clinics is down by 580, while the number of
schools has dropped by a staggering 2,380.
Other big fallers include post offices, with the number of branches down by 39 per cent, from 19,000 in 1997 to 11,500 today.
Almost 200 public libraries have been axed, while the number of traditional sports and social clubs has slumped by more than half, with 11,680 closing since 1997.
During the same period 3,460 traditional pubs have closed.
Businesses that have done well out of the Labour government include a number of less wholesome ones.
They include bookmakers, with branch numbers up by 39 per cent, from 3,270 to 4,540, and casinos, whose numbers have jumped by 27 per cent.
The first lapdancing clubs appeared in Britain in 1995 and there are thought to have been about 24 by 1997.
Now there are an estimated 300, their numbers boosted by a change in the licensing laws which made it far easier to gain planning permission.
Traditional grocers and local shops have been hit by the rising number of large supermarkets, which have soared by 49 per cent.
Tory communities spokesman Justine Greening likened the survey to a modern- day Domesday Book, the survey of land and livestock ownership in England completed in 1086 for William the Conqueror.
Miss Greening said it showed ministers had failed to protect key services on which a large percentage of the population rely.
She added: ‘Labour has presided over the decline of traditional Britain and watched as our local communities are damaged.
The figures were produced by the Valuation Office Agency as part of the latest revaluation of business rates.
Mick McGlasham, generalsecretary of the Working Men’s Club and Institute Union, said the closure of social clubs was ‘tearing the heart out of communities’ across the country and blamed Government legislation.
He said: ‘I just wish the Government and people of all political parties would understand the role our clubs play in the communities where they are based. When you lose a club you tear the heart out of a community.’
Chris Gorman, of the Forum of Private Businesses, said the figures reflected a ’sad and worrying trend’.
He said many traditional businesses had been driven out by soaringcosts to be replaced by chain stores and charity shops, which enjoy subsidised business rates.