Trade bodies strengthen calls for rates relief and reform

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Crippling: industry-wide calls have been made to the Government for business rates relief
Crippling: industry-wide calls have been made to the Government for business rates relief

Related tags Business rates Taxation in the united kingdom

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and the Association for Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) have intensified calls for business rate relief for pubs.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds has reiterated the trade body’s call for a fundamental review of the business rate system and how it works for pubs.

Simmonds said: “Pubs pay 2.7% of the entire business rates bill yet generate only 0.5% of business turnover.

“This is an unfair situation that needs to be addressed by a fundamental review.

“In the meantime, targeted relief for the pub sector​ would help more pubs to deal with this burden in the short term.”

She urged the Government to take this information into account at the Budget on 8 March.

The BBPA has also proposed further transitional relief for pubs, which could be achieved by increasing the current threshold to cover pubs with a rateable value up to £200,000 from the current £100,000 rateable value.

Amplifying the business rates campaign

It estimated this would bring £16m across 2,378 pubs, an average saving of almost £7,000.

The ALMR has also stepped up its push on business rates​ with just days to go until the Budget.

The trade body has met with senior MPs across the political parties as it amplifies its campaign for business rates relief and reform for licensed hospitality.

Following meetings in parliament, including the ALMR representing hospitality at a round table discussion with Labour’s front bench Budget team, chief executive Kate Nicholls addressed a TaxPayers’ Alliance event.

Nicholls led trade-wide calls on behalf of businesses facing crippling rate rises, reiterating the ALMR’s main requests.

These were the introduction of sector-specific relief for pubs and bars, capping of bill increases at 12.5% and retention of a robust and fair system for appeals.

Rates regime change

Nicholls added that a change of the business rate​ regime could only happen if the Government hears the ALMR’s message loud and clear.

She added: “Our meetings have been very fruitful in allowing us to present a strong, unified voice to policy makers to ensure our message resonates and hammer home the sector’s demands for action.

“We have been meeting and engaging with senior MPs from both parties and we are buoyed by the enthusiasm being shown; our campaign has steadily gained momentum and coverage.

“We have a little over a week until the Budget and we are confident the message we have been pushing is getting through at the highest levels.”

Nicholls called for a concerted effort from the trade to ensure hard-working pubs, bars and restaurants can be afforded the support they deserve.

Campaign For Real Ale chairman Colin Valentine added his voice to the calls to rate relief.

He said: "Many pubs are facing increases in the amount they pay in business rates and ultimately, it will be the consumers who pay the price as publicans are forced to put up prices.

"While around half of pubs will benefit from changes in business rates set to be introduced in April, others will face large increases and we must to do more to reduce the tax burden.

"Enjoying a pint in a pub has a hugely beneficial impact on a person's wellbeing - making people feel happier and better connected to their local community. We want to level the playing field for pubs in order for them to continue to service local communities.”

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