Retail estate adviser Altus Group’s annual business rates review discovered that on the 1 January 2019, the total number of pubs in England and Wales, liable for business rates, fell to 41,536 with the overall number declining by 1,530 since the business rates revaluation on 1 April 2017.
UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls said pubs were being slapped with a plethora of cost pressures at a time of unprecedented political uncertainty and unstable consumer confidence.
However, Altus Group claimed the rate at which pubs are disappearing due to being demolished or converted into other types of use has eased significantly.
Between April 2010 and April 2017, more than 11,000 (11,608) pubs were either demolished or converted into other types of use with the number of pubs falling from 54,674 to 43,066 equating to about 138 a month.
Altus Group president of expert services Alex Probyn said: “The increase in the thresholds at which businesses, such as pubs, pay business rates coupled with the pubs discount during the past two financial years has helped ease the decline.
“The new retail discount, which has slashed rates bills by a third for high street firms with a rateable value of less than £51,000 from 1 April will help independent licensees in small premises and hopefully will stem the decline even further.”
Putting prices up
Meanwhile, one operator told The Morning Advertiser of his hike in business rates from £45,000 a year to almost £65,000.
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 outlined 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.”