6,000 small pubs 'in line for more than 15% tax rises'

By Fred A'Court

- Last updated on GMT

'Be bold': rates specialists CVS has called for rate rises for pubs to be frozen from next April
'Be bold': rates specialists CVS has called for rate rises for pubs to be frozen from next April

Related tags: Beer duty, Chancellor

Call for rate rises for pubs to be frozen from next April as part of a 'bold' November Budget by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The call comes from business rent and rates specialists CVS following research that shows nearly 6,000 small pubs face inflation-busting property tax rises of more than 15% next year.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said there was no question that if the tax rises go ahead it will result in more pubs closing.

The BBPA is calling for the Chancellor to freeze beer duty in his Budget, planned for 23 November, and to increase pub-specific rates relief beyond this year.  

It also wants a timetable for major reform of the system. 

Highest property rates in the world

The CVS says its research shows 5,970 small property pubs will see increases in their rates bills of more than 15% next year.

The CVS claims Britain has the highest property rates in the world.

Although this year’s rates revaluation allows for transitional relief so that large increases to bills are phased in gradually over five years, with a ‘cap’ of 7.5% for 2018/19, the CVS says inflation and loss of the £1,000 relief discount takes the actual increase to more than 15 per cent.

Small properties are defined by the Government as those with a rateable value of less than £20,000, and £28,000 in London. 

'Tighten their belts'

CVS chief executive, Mark Rigby, has urged the Chancellor to be ‘bold’ in his Autumn Budget and freeze inflationary rises next year saying, "Brexit is driving inflation. Import prices have risen given the fall in the pound with prices rising faster than wages causing households to 'tighten their belts' on spending, especially on ‘big ticket’ items.

“Business investment has slowed and confidence fallen. Against this backdrop we already have the highest property taxes not only in Europe but the world.

“The Chancellor must be bold within his upcoming Budget next month through an unprecedented stimulus of freezing rate rises in April 2018."

'Bad news'

Meanwhile the BBPA is calling for at least a freeze in beer duty for the duration of this Parliament.

A spokesman said: “We’re campaigning for a reduction in beer duty after the very big increase in March.

“We want to avoid another inflationary increase which the Government have got pencilled in for the Budget, which could amount to an eight per cent increase this year alone.

“It would be very bad news for pubs.

“That’s the key focus of our campaign. A cut in beer duty is our top priority. We’re campaigning for a cut which will bring it back to more reasonable levels.”

Beer duty rose by four per cent in the March Budget.

The spokesman added: “We’ve put some very clear arguments in that cuts in beer duty are of very little cost to the Treasury because any small costs from a reduction in duty are almost entirely offset by gains elsewhere, gains in employment.

“We believe that for virtually no cost at all it does something that helps pubs and boosts the economy as well.”

Related topics: Legislation

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