Barons Pub Company, which now runs 10 sites in across Surrey and Berkshire, saw a huge hike in its business rates when it had seven pubs.
Managing director Clive Price told The Morning Advertiser: “Our business rates bill was doubled [in the last revaluation], which took about £240,000 off our bottom line despite the fact the Government has promised to look at it, it still hasn’t. We are hoping it doesn’t happen again because it really might finish us off.
“[At the last revaluation], we had seven pubs and in the end, the whole bill was pretty much double, about a 100% increase.”
He added: “I object to the fact the Valuation Office is asking for your turnover figures, it’s entirely wrong. It needs a legal challenge somewhere. Your turnover shouldn’t have anything to do with what your business rates are.”
When it comes to a solution to how business rates can improve for pubs, Price called for things to be fairer.
Price added: “Fundamentally, in business, you’re looking for fairness and a level playing field. This is where business rates are crazy because I could look at a pub down the road that you think should trade the same as us and, yet, their rateable value can be miles out, it can be double or half.
“There’s no consistency and no rhyme or reason so that’s a problem in the first place. The whole system is shot to pieces anyway because of all the internet business that aren’t contributing to the business rates burden. It’s just wrong and there’s more and more of them.”
Price isn’t the only operator who is concerned about huge hikes in business rates as a West Sussex pub was forced to close its doors following an almost 200% increase in rates.
Tim Skinner took on the Three Crowns is Wisborough Green with his father on a 21-year, free-of-tie lease in West Sussex eight years ago and hosted regular events at the pub.
Skinner told The Morning Advertiser: "[Business rates] impact everyone in the trade. It is a very tangible example of something that is not only unfair, it doesn't work.
“The Three Crowns went from approximately £24,000 to £70,000 in one fell swoop. That was on the 2016 rate increase that came in in 2017.”