Trade associations call on Chancellor to help pub sector

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Help wanted: trade associations fear the business rates revaluation
Help wanted: trade associations fear the business rates revaluation

Related tags: Taxation in the united kingdom

Trade associations have written to the Chancellor Philip Hammond calling on him to take action to support the pub industry in his Autumn Statement on 23 November. 

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) said one of the biggest issues facing the sector was the business rates revaluation (RV), which will see the hospitality sector disproportionately affected. It has already called on its members to write to the Chancellor or their local MP to call for action over the issue.

In its submission to the Chancellor, the ALMR said that RV calculations for the pub sector tend to be “overvalued” because they are turnover based. It called for an “urgent review” of trading provisions questioning the subjective element of 'fair maintainable trade' pub assessments.

The ALMR said it was likely that there would be a large number of appeals because RV is used as a basis for other services such as TV contracts, late-night levies and licence fees.

The trade association also said that the proposal to remove a right of appeal, where the RV is within the bounds of professional judgment, will effectively remove a right of appeal for the whole sector. It also queried the transitional thresholds that were too low and suggested the new higher rate threshold should be set at £200,000.

It also called for a cut in national insurance contributions for under-25s, for the apprenticeship levy to fund the indirect costs associated with training and apprenticeships as well as accredited in-work training, and for the rates for the national living wage to be left to the Low Pay Commission to avoid any political motives.

ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We have written to the community pubs minister and the Treasury and we are writing to our operator members to say to them you need to contact your constituency MP or Chancellor Philip Hammond.”

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has also written to the Chancellor calling for further reform on business rates and no increases in beer duty.

On business rates, the BBPA said it would want measures that mitigate the impact of the revaluation. It has called for an increase in the upper threshold for small business rate relief (SBRR), from £15,000 to £20,000.

It has also urged the Government to introduce a mandatory 50% reduction for businesses listed as an asset of community value.

There was also a call for transitional rate relief from April 2017, with enhanced relief for pubs in London and the south-east, for a new pub sector relief scheme to be introduced by April 2018 and a reform of rural rate relief that prevents some pubs fully benefiting from SBRR changes.

The BBPA also said it is “crucial” that there is no increase in beer duty at the Autumn Statement. It revealed that duty still accounts for up to 50% of the costs of a UK brewer and about a third of the price of a pint goes to the exchequer in duty and VAT.  

Related topics: Legislation

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