Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced special business rates protection for pubs in England in the final Spring budget statement.
The measures will see all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 receive a £1,000 discount on their 2017 bill. The move is estimated to cover 90% of pubs in England.
This afternoon, Hammond made further business rates concessions as what he called a ‘reaction to concerns raised by businesses’. Local authorities are to receive a £300m fund to deliver discretionary relief to help ease the burden on individual hard cases. Furthermore, any business coming out of Small Business Rate Relief will benefit from an additional cap, that will mean their rates will not increase by more than £50 a month.
Reacting to the news, Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) chief executive Kate Nicholls welcomed the news but said that long term reform was still needed to protect the sector.
‘It is very encouraging to see the government acknowledge and back the valuable work being carried out by the UK’s hardworking pubs, bars and restaurants,’ she said. ‘Sector-specific relief will help those businesses hardest hit by the revaluation. This much-needed government support will save the sector over £24m and will help safeguard investment and jobs.
‘We are pleased to see the government acknowledge the issue and act positively to support a crucial growth champion and a sector with turnover of £60bn employing over 1.5 million. The next step is for the government to instigate the long term, root and branch reform that is needed for pubs and bars and the ALMR is keen to work closely with them to achieve this.’
In talking about the state of the UK economy, Hammond said: ‘We are focused on keeping Britain at the forefront of the global economy. And our ambition is for the UK to be the best place in the world to start and grow a business.’
He also conceded that there was ‘scope to reform’ the business rates system in general, with more frequent revaluations. The government will set out its ‘preferred approach’ in due course.