Licensees claim business rates system is ‘broken’

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Business rates: the Autumn Budget has given some relief to pubs
Business rates: the Autumn Budget has given some relief to pubs
Almost three quarters (72%) of publicans have said the business rates system is unfair to pubs, according to a survey compiled by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

The report, which surveyed 650 licensees from across the nation and was submitted to the House of Commons, follows a parliamentary debate on how beer and pubs are taxed.

Licensees entered their experiences of the impact business rates rises has on them, including having to let staff go, delayed investment and increased prices.

Business rates impact

The evidence will be considered by the Treasury committee and inform its inquiry into the impact of business rates.

It echoes the point expressed in the House of Commons where more than 35 MPs from six political parties supported Britain’s pubs during the debate.

Speaking during the debate, All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group chair Mike Wood said: We have to address business rates. We need fundamental reform. The relief announced in the Autumn Budget was enormously helpful with about 80% of pubs benefiting, but they are still hugely overtaxed.

“Despite only making up about 0.5% of total business turnover, our pubs represent nearly 3% of all business rates payments.”

Squeezed profits

CAMRA chief executive Tom Stainer called on the Treasury committee to listen to the issues operators have with business rates.

He said: “Since the last business rates revaluation in 2017, it has been clear the business rates system simply isn’t working for England’s publicans, many of who have contacted us directly about the issue.

“The rates hit tied tenants especially hard as they are usually unable to make cost savings elsewhere and have squeezed profit margins due to the high price of tied beer.

“It is encouraging to see such overwhelming cross-party support for a fundamental review of how pubs are taxed and we hope the Treasury committee listens to publicans and takes that message on board.”

Related topics: Legislation

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