'False claims' about business rates angers ALMR

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Plea: ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls is calling on operators to contact MPs in a bid to reduce rates
Plea: ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls is calling on operators to contact MPs in a bid to reduce rates

Related tags: Business rates, Mass media

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has criticised claims that the media is peddling mistruths about business rates changes.

Industry organisation the ALMR has hit back at claims from a Government minister that the media has reported misinformation about the impact of changes to business rates.

In a letter to Conservative MPs, seen by The Times​, minister Sajid Javid claimed there had been a media campaign against rate revaluations, due this April, based on "distortions and half-truths".

However, ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls called the minister's accusations "extremely unhelpful" and said the comments showed a worrying lack of knowledge on a "crucial issue", just weeks before the Budget in March.

Nicholls added: “As we get closer to the Budget and the situation becomes critical, we are urging our members and the wider sector to communicate with their MPs and underline the scale of the problem.

“The pub sector is the only one looking at increases in every region of the UK.

“Pubs will be paying £300 to £500m more, a huge increase that the Government needs to address."

To help pubs highlight the issue to their local MPs, the ALMR has created a template letter for head offices and outlets to make their voices heard.

She said: “If pubs are facing an increase in their business rates in April they should unequivocally let their MPs know exactly what they are up against and warn them that hardworking and vital businesses in their areas are at risk if something is not done.”

Asked to comment on the ongoing business rates row, a Government spokesman said: "From April a third of all businesses will be taken out of business rates altogether and nearly a million businesses will see their bills cut thanks to the biggest ever cut in rates, worth £6.7 billion.

“For those still paying rates, valuations are being updated so that they are accurate and fair. Three quarters of businesses will see their bills cut or stay the same, and for those that face an increase the government has set aside a total of £3.6 billion so that these increases take effect slowly.  

“We know that the Great British pub is a national asset, providing thousands of jobs and boosting the economy by £21 billion a year, and have worked with the five major trade bodies to agree a method of valuing pubs.” 

Earlier this month the ALMR warned pubs were in danger of being ‘paralysed’ by the new business rates​ in a letter about rates reform sent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Related topics: Legislation

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