The Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG), based in Whitehall, will be getting a cut in its rates bill following a reduction of £50,000 in the rateable value of its offices. Its 2010 valuation was £24.96m and from April this year it will fall to £24.91m.
However, the pubs closest to the DCLG are facing “significant” increases, according to research by ALMR. Pubs nearby such as the Barley Mow, White Horse & Bower and Marquis of Granby have seen their rateable values increase by between 15% and 87%.
ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “These official figures highlight the unfairness and disparity of the current system, which sees pubs and restaurants subsidising other sectors.
“It is the height of irony that the London offices of the DCLG – the Government department responsible for setting business rates and located on prime Westminster real estate – is benefitting from a drop in its rateable value, while the nearby pubs and restaurants that civil servants regularly enjoy are seeing double-digit increases.
“The nearest pub to these Government offices is seeing its rateable value go up by more than 50%.”
Responding to the criticism, a DCLG spokesman said the rateable values of all properties, including Whitehall buildings, are set independently.
“In London, businesses facing increases will receive £1bn of transitional relief, and last week we announced a £1,000 business rates discount for small and medium-sized pubs,” they said.
But Nicholls said that with the majority of pubs and restaurants facing significant increases in operating costs this year through various Government measures, the support offered in last week’s Budget “is only a first step on the road to reform” to help the hospitality industry, which is a crucial growth champion and a sector with turnover of £60bn that employs in excess of 1.5m people.
ALMR’s campaign to reform business rates is based on what it says is the “disproportionate amount” that pubs, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs are required to pay.
But the Government spokesman said the method for valuing pubs was agreed with the five major trade bodies representing hospitality, of which ALMR is one, following “four months of intensive discussion”. It has not changed since the last valuation.
Site 2010 Value 2017 Value Increase
Barley Mow £127,000 £147,000 15%
White Horse & Bower
Marquis of Granby