The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has revealed that venues have already started to close, citing business rates as a major factor.
ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “A number of recently-closed venues within London I spoke to confirmed that increases in business rates bills played a part in their closure.
“The ALMR has been warning the Government for years that spiralling rates bills were having a severe effect on businesses and that if this issue was not addressed, we would unfortunately see closures.
“If the Government does not do something to fix a broken rates system, more businesses will close their doors.”
Only last week rent and rates specialists CVS said there would be a tsunami of pub closures if the promised rates relief scheme was not extended.
Concern was raised as news broke that there had been a delay in local authorities sending out information and granting the relief. Pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 are entitled to get £1,000 off their rates bills.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) head of public affairs Jonathan Mail said: “In the medium term it is a big concern that business rates could push pubs into closure.”
However, he expected this to happen over a number of years as the increases are phased in.
CAMRA has also called for the rate relief to be extended to help pubs deal with the business rates burden.
“It is only £1K relief and that isn’t make or break. CAMRA would like to see a root and branch review of the business rates system that treats pubs more fairly,” he said.
“We would like the rate relief scheme to become permanent and increase from £1K to £5K. ”