In an exclusive interview, Lewis said that the Government is looking at making the whole process “more transparent” and would be simplifying the appeals procedure.
Currently business rates are calculated on the basis of fair maintainable trade. A multiplier set by central Government is then applied, representing the pence in each pound of a pub’s rateable value that is payable in rates. Other businesses are calculated on the square footage of the premises.
Lewis said: "We are not looking to change that system. My understanding is we have looked at that but there is not a consensus in the industry because it is different to the rest of the business sector. You can have a very large pub with a very low turnover — and pubs can benefit from that.
"People have come up with various ideas such as fully turnover-based or profit-based. But the problem with all of them is: how do you assess that? If you take the point about profit base you are suggesting every business in the country will be happy to give out commercially sensitive data."
Defending the current system, he said that, as the tax is property-based, this means it is hard to avoid payment and the amount of tax evasion is low.
"Because it is difficult to avoid, the collection rate is high, which means the rates are kept relatively low," said Lewis.
He said that the delay in the revaluation from 2015 to 2017 was of benefit to pubs as they would have been hit by a higher multiplier.