Heath Ball, licensee of the Red Lion & Sun in Highgate, north London, who took home the title of the John Smith’s Great British Pub of the Year 2018 has told The Morning Advertiser of the impact this will have on his business.
Ball said: “[Business rates] just keep on going up and up and up. It was £45,000 last year. This year, it’s almost £65,000.
“How do you explain that to customers? You have to put your prices up. My bottom line gets squeezed every year. That’s £20,000 to find. It’s ferocious.”
He added: “It is worked out on turnover so I tried to contest that we are a restaurant and they said I need to find a business [the same] considerable calibre as mine, similar style building that operates as a restaurant and you can't find one.
“If I was a restaurant – where [rates are worked out] on square footage, my business rates would be a lot less. I'm food-led. It's a restaurant and a pub, it's a gastropub but they don't take that into account so your turnover is part of it, it's just too much. You can try and fight it but, realistically, it's not great.
“I am over-trading that site and so you get penalised for being successful and then what's the point in being more successful when you just have to pay more in business rates.”
Everything going up
Ball highlighted how this isn’t the only cost increase he will incur with taxes on products also set to rise.
He said: “In my area, I am the most expensive pub and I pay more than a huge restaurant down the road because it is worked out on square footage. I just think it is brutal, give me a break!
“Everything else is going up as well. Duty on wine, beer is going to go up again, it is just going to be relentless. It is not easy for pubs.”