London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s has pledged to cut business rates for hospitality businesses.
In his Economic Development Strategy published this month, the mayor is calling on the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to review its valuation policy for businesses linked to London’s night-time economy including pubs, restaurants, clubs, live music venues and other licensed premises.
Khan said he was "concerned", following the 2017 revaluation, that many ratepayers within these sectors – particularly in central London – have seen "disproportionately large increases in their valuations".
ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We are extremely grateful that the London Mayor has recognised the critical issue of wholesale reform of the business rates system.
"The capital’s late-night bars, restaurants, live music and clubbing venues are rightly recognised as some of the most vibrant and progressive in the world and are a vital part of sustainable hospitality sector.
“There have been some positive signals recently with London’s Night Czar Amy Lamé acknowledging the value of the night-time economy in the capital and taking steps to protect and nurture it.
"Business rates rises are a clear threat to investment, growth and job creation in the sector and the Government must act and push ahead with reform.”
Last month, trade bodies also welcomed the mayor's draft London plan, which also pledged to protect pubs and the night-time economy.
Scotland leading the way
And, following the Scottish Finance Minister’s proposed draft budget announcement in Holyrood on Friday (15 December), the ALMR has also welcomed its "positive" business rates measures.
“The impact of business rates in the hospitality sector cannot be sustained, so this package of measures is good news for Scottish pubs, restaurants and clubs," Nicholls continued.
“Scotland is leading the way on business rates but there is still a real urgency for England and Wales to undertake root and branch reform of their systems, to deliver fairness to bricks and mortar businesses and hospitality operators that are among the worst hit.
"This will hopefully prompt further and swifter action in England and Wales.”
The draft budget proposed a number of reforms, including matching the English poundage, representing a 3.7% drop in the tax rate; expanding the Small Business Bonus Scheme by "significantly" raising the eligibility threshold so the scheme lifts 100,000 properties out of rates altogether; and continues to provide better support for SMEs than elsewhere in the UK.
Other rates reliefs will continue, with renewables and rural reliefs being expanded. This "improved package of reliefs" will mean that more than half of rateable properties pay nothing, it said.