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ALMR slams ‘irony’ of DCLG tax cut as rates soar for nearby pubs

By Georgina Townshend , 17-Mar-2017
Last updated on 17-Mar-2017 at 12:29 GMT2017-03-17T12:29:08Z

Business rates: ALMR slams DCLG rateable value decrease
Business rates: ALMR slams DCLG rateable value decrease

Industry body the ALMR has criticised the Government office that oversees business rates for accepting a tax cut for its site in central London while ramping up business rates for the pubs closest to it.

The Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG), based in Whitehall, will be getting a cut in its rates bill following a reduction of £50,000 in the rateable value of its offices. Its 2010 valuation was £24.96m and from April this year it will fall to £24.91m.

However, the pubs closest to the DCLG are facing “significant” increases, according to research by ALMR. Pubs nearby such as the Barley Mow, White Horse & Bower and Marquis of Granby have seen their rateable values increase by between 15% and 87%.

ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “These official figures highlight the unfairness and disparity of the current system, which sees pubs and restaurants subsidising other sectors.

“It is the height of irony that the London offices of the DCLG – the Government department responsible for setting business rates and located on prime Westminster real estate – is benefitting from a drop in its rateable value, while the nearby pubs and restaurants that civil servants regularly enjoy are seeing double-digit increases.

“The nearest pub to these Government offices is seeing its rateable value go up by more than 50%.”

Responding to the criticism, a DCLG spokesman said the rateable values of all properties, including Whitehall buildings, are set independently.

“In London, businesses facing increases will receive £1bn of transitional relief, and last week we announced a £1,000 business rates discount for small and medium-sized pubs,” they said.

But Nicholls said that with the majority of pubs and restaurants facing significant increases in operating costs this year through various Government measures, the support offered in last week’s Budget “is only a first step on the road to reform” to help the hospitality industry, which is a crucial growth champion and a sector with turnover of £60bn that employs in excess of 1.5m people.

ALMR’s campaign to reform business rates is based on what it says is the “disproportionate amount” that pubs, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs are required to pay.

But the Government spokesman said the method for valuing pubs was agreed with the five major trade bodies representing hospitality, of which ALMR is one, following “four months of intensive discussion”. It has not changed since the last valuation.

Site                            2010 Value         2017 Value      Increase
Barley Mow                      £127,000         £147,000           15%

Loose Box

£62,000

£116,000

87%

White Horse & Bower

£37,875

£54,000

43%

Marquis of Granby

£79,500

£119,000

50%