Spring Budget unlikely to help pubs much

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Spring Statement: the sector will have to see how Philip Hammond's Budget affects pubs
Spring Statement: the sector will have to see how Philip Hammond's Budget affects pubs

Related tags: Chancellor of the exchequer

Little of the Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Spring Budget will give respite to the pub trade, with leaders continuing to call for tax equality.

One of the biggest steps towards a level playing field would be the implementation of a strong digital services tax, said UKHospitality (UKH) in response to the budget this week.

The Government’s recent digital services tax consultation outlined the potential for tax equality, which UKH welcomed, saying it was a step towards fairness.

Using such revenues to bolster the high street by offsetting rates bills, overpaid by the hospitality sector, would be a bonus, said the organisation.

Digital tax

“UKHospitality has repeatedly called for the introduction of a digital tax to level the playing field and better reflect the realities of business in the 21st century,” said UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls.

“This is not an attempt to stifle technological development, which has provided benefits for hospitality and wider society, but to ensure that the modern tax system reflects modern business.”

Hospitality businesses have been “crippled” by rates over the years, which could be stopped should Government take action to alleviate the unfair burdens on high streets.

Nicholls continued: “We need the Government to go even further and use revenues raised by the new tax to slash extortionately high costs of business rates on the high street with this new tax rather than let it disappear into Treasury coffers.”

Some encouraging news

However, British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds believed there was some encouraging news for the sector within the statement.

By bringing forward apprenticeship scheme reforms worth £700m to April, co-investment in the funding for roles could be reduced by as much as 5%, she said.

“These sectors have seen the number of apprentices soar in recent years, with 165,000 people starting apprenticeships in hospitality and catering between 2013 and 2018,” said Simmonds.

“It will also help companies operating in the leased and tenanted pub sector that could not use their apprenticeship levy in pubs that they own but where they are not the individual employer.”

Related topics: Legislation

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