Autumn Budget 2017

Pubs' £1,000 business rates discount extended in Autumn Budget

By Georgina Townshend contact

- Last updated on GMT

Budget plus: rates relief for pubs is set to continue for another year
Budget plus: rates relief for pubs is set to continue for another year

Related tags: Business rates, Taxation in the united kingdom

The £1,000 business rates relief for pubs with a rateable value under £100,000 will be continued for another year, until March 2019, it has been announced.

As part of the Autumn Budget today (November 22), Chancellor Philip Hammond said in order to "support thousands of small pubs at the heart of so many communities" the pub-specific discount will be extended.

The business rates discount for pubs was introduced as part of this year's Spring Budget​ in March, after Hammond vowed to protect local pubs and the "valuable work they do".

According to Hammond, the relief will help 90% of pubs within the country.

In reaction to the extension, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) tweeted: "This shows the Government is listening to our concerns over business rates and will benefit pubs by £25m."

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: "This extension of the pub-specific rate relief is very welcome and continues to recognise the disproportionate rates burden faced by pubs."

The Chancellor also announced that he had "listened to concerns of the annual uprating in April next year", and will be bringing forward the planned switch in the indexation of business rates from RPI to CPI by two years to 2018.

The frequency of property revaluations will also be increased to every three years, instead of every five, from 2025, Hammond said.

Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “An extension of the pub-specific rates relief will save the sector almost £20m, and bringing forward the move from RPI to CPI to calculate bills, something the ALMR has pushed for, will save close to £100m over four years.

“The promise of more frequent revaluations is also welcome and something the ALMR has lobbied for. Although we are concerned that, in practice, there may be some administrative burdens that will need to be addressed."

Delivering change

She continued: “The next step is for the Government to push ahead with its promised package of root and branch reform for business rates, and the ALMR is looking forward to working closely with the Government to deliver change."

The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) has jointly welcomed further support for pubs on business rates.

“We welcome the fact that Government has listened to the call to help pubs in what is a very competitive marketplace," said BII chief executive Mike Clist. 

“Moving the annual inflation of rateable values from RPI to CPI, continuing the £1,000 rate relief policy for a further year and moving the revaluation of properties to three yearly will all help. We do, however, still believe the rating system needs a complete overhaul and we will continue to lobby for this." 

"More still needs to be done"

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), although welcoming the extension, has said "more still needs to be done".

"We welcome the Chancellor’s decision to extend the £1,000 rate relief for pubs for one more year. This shows the Government is alive to the threats facing English pubs although more needs to be done," said ​CAMRA's national chairman Colin Valentine.

"CAMRA is calling for further action to secure a thriving pub sector and would like this relief to be made permanent and increased to £5,000 a year. We would also like to see a wholesale review of the business rates regime, which unfairly penalises pubs and rewards online retailers."

Jonathan Neame, Chief Executive of Shepherd Neame, agreed and said: "The business rates positioning overall suggests that the Chancellor is listening which is also welcome. Although I don't think it deals with the fundamental issue that business rates increasingly feel like an anachronistic tax - a tax that disproportionately impacts property based businesses and is what I would call 'a tax on success' or a 'tax on investment' because you increase the turnover on your business by increasing the capital you put in and pick up a bill for the privilege of doing so, and that doesn't seem right."

Greg Mulholland, chair of the British Pub Confederation, also said more needs to be done for pubs for those with a rateable value over £100,000.

"For many pubs it is a relief that the Chancellor has announced an extend the £1,000 discount for pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 for one more year to March 2019, but this will still leave many pubs at risk of huge hikes and closure, so it is not enough and not a full or a long-term solution", he said.

"More action is needed to help those pubs with rateable value of over £100,000 in the short term, but what we really need now is proper recognition of the importance of pubs to communities in the tax system."

Other announcements

Included in the announcements, the Chancellor also revealed that the national living wage will increase to £7.83, which will "boost the incomes of the lowest paid by £2,000 a year", and a freeze on beer, wine and spirit duty​ – rather than increase in line with inflation as planned.

Nicholls added: “It is also good to see the Government accepting the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission on the rate of the national living wage, de-politicising the decision. Although this may present a modest financial burden for employers, it will also put money in the pockets of our customers.

“This shows the Government has listened to the concerns of the sector, the concerns of ALMR members, and acted to support vital hospitality businesses at a time of economic and political instability.

"The ALMR has worked hard to communicate the pressures being faced by eating and drinking-out businesses and it is good to see the Chancellor acknowledging these challenges and listening to what businesses have to say.”

Related topics: Legislation

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