Two pubs a DAY have 'disappeared' since last April's business rates changes

By Georgina Townshend contact

- Last updated on GMT

Vanishing point: more than 600 pubs have been demolished or converted since new rates were introduced
Vanishing point: more than 600 pubs have been demolished or converted since new rates were introduced

Related tags: Business rates, Business, Government

Two pubs a day have either been demolished or converted into other types of use such as homes and offices since last April’s business rates changes, according to analysis of Government data by real estate adviser Altus Group.

Since the revaluation, between 1 April to date, 616 pubs have now “disappeared” from the Rating List completely having called time, according to the group.

Their removal, for tax purposes, means that they have been "either been demolished or converted into other types of use​", they said. 

At the Spring Budget last March, to try and ease the rates burden, Philip Hammond handed 90% of pubs a £1,000 discount​ off their business rates bills for those with a rateable value of less than £100,000. That was extended at the Autumn Budget in November for a further year to cover 2018-19 bills. 

The first wave of closures​ due to business rates was revealed in August last year by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR).

At the time, 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.”

It came at the same time as rent and rates specialists CVS said there would be a "tsunami of pub closures"​ if the promised rates relief scheme was not extended.

Pressure is easing

However, the group said the rate at which pubs are being converted into other forms of use is easing.

During the life of the previous business rates regime, 11,608 pubs were converted into other types of use with the number of pubs falling from 54,674 to 43,066 between April 2010 and April 2017 equating to around four a day.

Today, the number of pubs in England and Wales stands at just 42,450. 

Altus Group UK president of business rates Alex Probyn said: "The increase in the thresholds at which pubs pay business rates coupled with the additional £25m of rates relief has, undoubtedly, stemmed the decline.”

Related topics: Legislation

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