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Spring Budget: £1,000 discount for pubs gets mixed reactions

By Georgina Townshend , 08-Mar-2017
Last updated on 09-Mar-2017 at 10:10 GMT2017-03-09T10:10:37Z

Spring Budget: Mixed reactions from industry bodies
Spring Budget: Mixed reactions from industry bodies

The Chancellor’s £1,000 business rate discount for the majority of pubs in the UK in 2017 has met with mixed reactions from industry bodies.

During his Budget speech on Wednesday (8 March) Philip Hammond announced a discount on business rates for pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 .

It is intended to help recognise the “valuable role of local pubs in the community”, and will affect 90% of the industry, he said.

Following the announcement certain industry groups have said “more needs to be done”, and have called for a “thorough review of rates”, as well as a longer-term solution.

Hammond said this was part of a further £435m cut in business rates to help “protect our pubs”. 

Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA)

SIBA managing director Mike Benner said the decision – along with an increase in beer tax – will be a “setback” for pubs.

“The £1,000 reduction in business rates for pubs with a rateable value below £100,000 is welcome support for the sector, although much more needs to be done.”

Shepherd Neame

Jonathan Neame, chief executive at Shepherd Neame, Britain’s oldest brewer, said that the announcement “demonstrates the Chancellor is listening”, but it does not address the largest increases which will be seen in the coming months.

“The fundamental issue is that pubs currently suffer from a tax regime that while fit for the 20th century, is not for the 21st century. A thorough review of rates and excise duty is urgently needed.”

British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA)

After campaigning for specific help for pubs , the BBPA has welcomed the discount.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simonds, said: “This very specific acknowledgement that pubs are so important to local communities and are a force for good, is very welcome.

“I am also pleased that the Chancellor has announced a wider review, and has taken up the cause of ensuring the rates burden is shared more fairly, especially when it comes to on-line business.

“We will wait to see further details of the funding for local authorities, and we would urge them to make pubs a priority.”

British Institute of Innkeeping

British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) chief executive Mike Clist said that the Chancellor had made some “positive moves”, but his organisation will continue to lobby on behalf of its members to make sure “any reforms reflect the importance of pubs to the economy”.

“We welcome short-term measures to reduce the burden on pubs being caused by the 2017 rating revaluation process,” he said.

“We wait with interest to see how this help will be carried forward in to future years.”

Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR)

The ALMR has welcomed the Government’s Budget Statement and steps to address business rates inequality for pubs and bars and to promote growth and investment across the UK’s businesses as a “short-term” solution, but will now be pushing for something more long term.

“Sector-specific relief will help those businesses hardest hit by the revaluation,” said ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls.

“The next step is for the Government to instigate the long term, root-and-branch reform that is needed for pubs and bars.”

British Pub Confederation

BPC chair Greg Mulholland said the discount will “go some way to assist pubs facing rates rises”, but he remains concerned that many larger pubs will still face “huge rises that will damage or destroy their businesses”.

“We still need a complete overhaul of the way we tax pubs and we need to ensure that the community value of pubs is properly recognised in the tax system,” he said.

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