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Business Rates - Brigid Simmonds' lead letter in The Times

17/02/17


BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds has the lead letter in The Times today, on Business Rates. The full text follows below:


Sir,


Clare Foges is absolutely right (‘Raise a glass to saving the great British pub’) that if Minsters don’t intervene to protect pubs, for many communities, a vital part of local life will be lost.


In the past decade, over 8,000 pubs have closed, and the number of pubs continues to decline. Yet pubs pay 2.8 per cent of the total UK business rates bill, on just 0.5 per cent of the total turnover.


With pubs so unfairly burdened, the Chancellor has a golden opportunity to send a clear signal to publicans and supporters of the great British pub in his first full Budget, next month.


As an immediate measure, He can follow his predecessor, and help stifle further inflationary pressures, by taking a penny off beer duty – which brings targeted help, and unlocks much-needed investment in our pubs.


The Treasury can go further and support the 17,000 pubs facing crippling business rates increases from April, with a lower cap on their rates than is currently proposed. We also need a system of rates relief specifically designed to help pubs. They are, in the Prime Minister’s words, ‘just about managing’ and need swift action in order to thrive as beating hearts of their local communities.


Brigid Simmonds, CEO



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