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Business Rates - industry bodies join forces in call for fairer deal for pubs in Autumn Statement


With the Chancellor due to deliver his Autumn Statement on 25th November, key pub industry bodies have written jointly to George Osborne, calling for further action to secure a fairer deal for pubs.
The letter, from the BBPA, ALMR, FLVA, BII, SIBA, BFBI, BSDA, and GMV, sets out three Business Rates priorities for pubs:
• Freeze the business rates multiplier, benefiting all pubs and worth around £5m to the sector
• Extend small business rate relief for another year, benefitting a third of pubs, or 15,000 pubs
• Apply Retail Relief – a scheme that provides a discount for pubs with a rateable value of £50k or less - for another year and increase the discount to £2,000 per annum, per pub

Stark figures in the letter points to BBPA research showing that pubs are particularly disadvantaged by Business Rates, paying around 2.8 per cent of all UK receipts from this tax, despite accounting for just 0.5 per cent of turnover – a hugely burdensome overpayment of £500 million per year.

The letter also makes clear that relief for pubs is critical, given the growing degree to which pubs are now disadvantaged, as result of delays to the rates revaluation process, which will see new rateable values come into force in April 2017.

BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds comments:
“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.”

Notes to editors:

Full text of the letter follows

Rt Hon George Osborne MP
Chancellor of the Exchequer
HM Treasury
Unit 1, Horse Guards Rd
London SW1A 2HQ

18th November 2015

Dear Chancellor,

Pubs, business rates, and the Autumn Statement

We are writing as a coalition of pub owners and operators, suppliers to the trade and pubgoers to highlight the cost of business rates to the industry and propose measures that could be implemented in the Autumn Statement to reduce the burden of this tax on community pubs.

The pub industry in England pays around £600m in business rates, an average of over £13,000 per pub each year. Pubs are particularly disadvantaged by business rates, paying around 2.8 per cent of all UK receipts from this tax, despite accounting for 0.5 per cent of turnover - an overpayment of £500 million per year. The tax makes up around 10 per cent of pub business costs. Indeed, a new study from Oxford Economics has found that per pound of turnover, business rates paid by pubs were second highest among 67 sectors studied.

The industry has welcomed the Government's support on business rates over the last few years which has provided a vital lifeline to many pubs, and helped others invest in their local communities and staff. However, the level of taxation remains too high and many of the reliefs are only temporary.

We therefore call on the Government to:
• Freeze the business rates multiplier for 2016/17
• Extend Small Business Rate Relief for a further year
• Provide Retail Relief for an additional year and extend the discount to £2,000 per premises
These measures are particularly critical in the last year before the revaluation as we feel current rateable values are disadvantaging pub businesses against other business types. The industry is hopeful that proposals for reform of business rates and the next revaluation will create a fairer taxation environment for pubs from 2017 but some will not survive that long without support.

We strongly believe that these measures will help to sustain the UK pub industry in its fragile recovery from the effects of the recent recession and the damaging rises in beer duty, particularly from 2008 to 2012 under the beer duty escalator. It will also support the sector in adjusting to the increase in costs that are anticipated as a result of the introduction of the National Living Wage, energy policy reform and the Apprenticeship Levy.

Yours sincerely
Brigid Simmonds OBE, Chief Executive, British Beer & Pub Association
Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive, Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers
Ruth Evans, Chief Executive, Brewing, Food and Beverage Industry Suppliers Association
Tim Hulme, Chief Executive, British Institute of Innkeeping
Gavin Partington, Chief Executive, British Soft Drinks Association
Colin Valentine, CAMRA National Chairman
Martin Caffrey, Chief Executive, Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations
Alex Frear, Chairman, Guild of Master Victuallers
Mike Benner, Chief Executive, Society of Independent Brewers


Business rates

For further information contact:

Neil Williams
Head of Media
Tel: 020 7627 9156 / 07974 249 779

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