Business rates

Pubs minister: ‘13,000 pubs potentially eligible for 100% small-business rate relief’

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Support: pubs minster Andrew Percy said community groups should come forward for funding to run their locals
Support: pubs minster Andrew Percy said community groups should come forward for funding to run their locals

Related tags Local government Business rates in england and wales Taxation in the united kingdom

Pubs minister Andrew Percy has revealed that 13,000 pubs could be eligible for complete small-business rate relief, following the Autumn Statement. 

Vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group and Conservative MP for Weaver Vale Graham Evans welcomed the news on rural rate relief in the recent Autumn Statement​ at a committee meeting at the House of Commons on community pubs earlier this week (Monday 28 November).

But, Evans challenged the pubs minister on the news about the “immense challenge on business rates” and asked what steps he would take with local authorities to help ease the burden of business rates on pubs.

Percy​ answered: “We are permanently doubling the level of small-business rate relief from next year, meaning 600,000 small businesses will pay no business rates at all.

“In addition, 17,000 pubs may be eligible for small-business rate relief from 1 April next year, depending on their rateable value.

‘Bizarre’ VAO reassessment

He added: “Around 13,000 are potentially eligible for 100% relief, compared with some 4,000 now.”

Conservative MP for Yeovil Marcus Fysh said: “Like other businesses, pubs in my constituency are grateful for the raising of the threshold for the payment of rates, but they can suffer following bizarre Valuation Office Agency reassessment decisions that cancel out the benefit.

“As local authorities, such as Somerset, are now highly dependent on growing their rates revenue and on 100% rates retention, how can it be right that businesses face uncertainty from such a source?”

Percy responded by saying the process was independent and it wasn’t appropriate for ministers to intervene in it.

He made the point that £3.6bn of transitional relief was available and referred back to the number of businesses that can now qualify for 100% relief.

Developing community pubs

Percy also said he was happy to work with local authorities to develop community pubs.

He added: “Listing a pub as an asset of community value gives communities time to bid to buy it should the owner decide to sell.

“We have supported community buying through the £3.6m ‘More than a Pub’ programme.”

The ‘More than a Pub’ scheme​ was launched in March this year by former pubs minister Marcus Jones and is an initiative jointly funded by the Department of Communities & Local Government and Power to Change to increase the number of community-owned pubs in England.

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