A number of key trade bodies have joined forces to lobby George Osborne to lower business rates for pubs in his upcoming Autumn Statement, due 25 November.
Pubs and bars currently overpay by around £500m a year, according to the figures supplied by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA). The pub industry in England pays around £600m in business rates, an average of over £13,000 per pub each year, making up around 10% of business costs. A new study from financial forecaster Oxford Economics reports that per pound of turnover, business rates paid by pubs are the second highest among 67 sectors studied.
The open letter – signed by the BBPA; Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR); Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations (FLVA); British Institute of Innkeeping (BII); Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA); Brewing, Food & Beverage Industry Suppliers Association (BFBI); British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA); and Guild of Master Victuallers (GMV) – calls for three points of action. They include a freeze in the business rates multiplier, which would be worth around £5m across the sector, and an extension to the small business rate relief for a further year, benefitting a third (around 15,000) pubs. The groups are also demanding that Retail Relief – a scheme that provides a discount for pubs with a rateable value of £50k or less – is applied for another year, with the relief discount amount increased to £2,000 per annum, per pub.
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: 'More action from the Government in the Autumn Statement is needed, as pubs are hugely overburdened. In the longer term, we need to ensure that the rates burden can be spread across a much wider range of business, and across the whole economy.'
ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: 'The businesses that are driving growth across the UK’s high streets are bearing a disproportionate burden. The Government must act decisively to ensure a fair and flexible system that treats all businesses equally in the way they are assessed and encourages success.'
Business Rates are set to be revalued in 2017 in England, Scotland and Wales.