BBPA outlines proposals to help small businesses

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Small business, Business

Brigid Simmonds: 'At up to 10% of pub business costs, rates remain a huge burden'
Brigid Simmonds: 'At up to 10% of pub business costs, rates remain a huge burden'
The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has proposed amending the definition of small businesses and introducing new rules that force councils to “be more transparent” in regards to business rate relief.

In its submission to the Government’s business rates consultation, the BBPA has recommended a series of proposals focused on helping smaller pub premises, with its core proposal suggesting raising the threshold at which small businesses are defined.

Currently the Uniform Business Rate has a rateable value (RV) threshold of £18,000 (£25,500 in London), but in George Osborne’s Autumn Statement last year, rate relief was introduced for properties with RVs of £50,000 and below. This threshold could be used for the Uniform Business Rate split between large and small business, the BBPA has suggested.

It added that for a new threshold to have a “positive impact”, there would need to be a wider differential between the rates bills for large and small businesses.

Transparency

The BBPA also said it wants “radical changes” to force local authorities to “be more transparent” and list the reliefs that are available to businesses on their bills.

It also reiterated the need for revaluations to keep up-to-date with trends in the market, and the continued use of a ‘turnover’ approach to determine an equivalent rental value as the most suitable option for the pub sector. This should make it easier for pubs to be revalued if their economic circumstances alter, it claimed.

The organisation acknowledged that some of these measures would come at a cost and suggested either a reduction in revenue generated from the business rates system, or said larger businesses would need to “shoulder more of the burden”. Alternatively, it said more businesses, such as those which operate online, would have to be brought within the scope of the business rates system. 

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “In the past year, the Government has taken action to help pubs struggling with their rates bills. However, at up to 10% of pub business costs, rates remain a huge burden, and more reform is needed to get the burden down. I hope The Treasury makes this issue a priority.

“We also need to make it easier for pubs to be revalued if their economic circumstances alter and not just due to the current definition of a 'material change'.”

Related topics: Legislation, Other operators

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