'Unfair' rates rises set to cripple top pubs

By Georgina Townshend

- Last updated on GMT

Breaking point: the ALMR looks at leading operators' tax rises
Breaking point: the ALMR looks at leading operators' tax rises

Related tags Business rates Executive kate nicholls License

Research into some of the UK’s leading operators has highlighted the “unfair and imbalanced nature” of the current business rates regime.

Analysis by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) on the rateable values (RVs) of the British Institute of Innkeeping’s Licensee of the Year finalists revealed that, following this year’s revaluation process, collectively their pubs’ RV has risen by 57%.

Under the current regime, the six pubs will be paying 64% more in business rates by 2020-21, according to the ALMR.

The Castle at Edgehill, Oxfordshire, run by the winning licensee, Mark Higgs​, is enduring a massive triple-digit RV rise (258%).

Sharp Focus

ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said the analysis “once again brings into sharp focus the current unfair and broken business rates system”.

“These six outstanding licensees run exceptional pub businesses that contribute greatly to the local community and have been recognised as some of the best the country has to offer,” she said.

“How can it be right that their success is penalised by significant hikes in their rates bills, which threaten to hamper future growth and job creation?”

The ALMR said it will be “keeping up the pressure” for wholesale reform and pressing ministers for assurances on a commitment to change in the Budget later this year.

“If the Government is serious about supporting pubs and values the economic and social contribution they make, then it must push forward with reform as soon as possible,” added Nicholls.

Steep increases

Other notable increases the ALMR found in the study include the Kings Head, Thursley, Surrey, which has experienced a 133% increase and Merchants 1668, Lancaster, which has risen by 86%.

Commenting on the findings, Higgs said: “The Government is penalising successful operators through the current unfair rates system.

“I have grown trade and invested significantly in my pub and now I am faced with a steep increase in my rates bill – that just isn’t right.”

Higgs said the system needs a “huge overhaul” and a fairer approach to hospitality businesses to encourage growth.

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