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General election 2017

BBPA manifesto calls for £25,000 business rates assistance package for pubs

By Georgina Townshend , 08-May-2017
Last updated on 08-May-2017 at 14:01 GMT2017-05-08T14:01:51Z

Disproportionate burden: BBPA chief executive asks candidates to recognise the importance of pubs in manifesto
Disproportionate burden: BBPA chief executive asks candidates to recognise the importance of pubs in manifesto

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has called for pubs to receive a £25,000 business-rates assistance package over the duration of the next parliament in its manifesto ahead of the general election.

The BBPA has called for an extension of the one year £1,000 per pub business rates assistance package for the length of parliament, which should be raised to £5,000 in the next Budget.

The manifesto , which outlines the BBPA’s priorities for a thriving beer and pub sector over the next five years, states short-term financial help for pubs “shouldering a disproportionate burden” in relation to business rates is “badly needed”.

As part of the Budget, the Chancellor’s £1,000 business rates discount – for pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 – was met with mixed reactions, with most stating more needed to be done.

The BBPA has said it would want any pub paying in excess of £5,000 in business rates to receive the full £25,000.

The manifesto stated that the tax burden on pubs is “significant”, and said an urgent review for the long term was also required.

Importance of brewing and pubs

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “As a vital industry employing around 900,000 people, we will be engaging with serving politicians and candidates throughout the campaign.

“I hope candidates in all parties will recognise the importance of brewing and pubs to our communities and the economy, and help promote the policies needed to create sustainable growth in the sector.”

Other key priorities

The document also highlights that unlocking growth and investment is key to meeting the challenges of Brexit, with specific priorities designed to do that including action on beer duty, and wholesale reform of the business rates system.

A spokesman for the BBPA said: “As the UK leaves the European Union a free trade deal with the EU without additional paperwork is vital for beer imports and exports – and greater government support is needed to foster beer exports in overseas markets.”

Investment in training and skills, and access to those with the right skills was also raised, including an immigration system that supports the “necessary staffing levels for the sector”.

To tackle high rates of UK beer taxation, the manifesto calls for at least a freeze in beer duty over the course of the next Parliament.

There are also calls for a more competitive tax regime that encourages consumption of lower-strength drinks.

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