Thousands of pubs under threat from £800m business rates bill

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Rates bill: 'ending the business rates relief for pubs and handing them a bill of £800m – an average of £25,000 per rate paying pub – could be the last straw for thousands of pubs,' the BBPA’s Emma McClarkin said
Rates bill: 'ending the business rates relief for pubs and handing them a bill of £800m – an average of £25,000 per rate paying pub – could be the last straw for thousands of pubs,' the BBPA’s Emma McClarkin said

Related tags: Finance, Legislation, Bbpa, Business rates, Pubco + head office, Freehouse

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has called on the Government to extend business rates relief to ensure that pubs facing average bill of £25,000 each don’t fall victim to the coronavirus crisis.

In response to the imminent conclusion of the first stage of the Government’s business rates review, the trade body explained that operators will immediately face a bill of £800m – on average £25,000 per rate paying pub – should the pub sector relief end as planned in March 2021.

Pubs in England and Wales have been granted a one year business rates holiday worth £768.12m by the Government according to figures from real estate advisor Altus Group, and were also eligible for £557.94m in one off cash grants worth up to £25,000 per pub. 

Yet, according to the BBPA, as many as one-in-three pubs are currently struggling to break post-lockdown – leaving them without the cash required to foot the new year’s business rates bill.

It adds that such a sum will force thousands to close as huge payments will be due well before the full recovery of Britain’s brewers and pubs.

The trade association is therefore urging the Government to extend pub sector relief on business rates for at least another year in a bid to save tens of thousands of jobs, secure tax revenue from pubs in the long term, and prevent the closure of thousands of community-focused venues.

According to the latest figures, the UK’s beer and pub sector employs a total of 900,000 people – 600,000 of which are directly employed in pubs.

Wasted support

“Ending the business rates relief for pubs and handing them a bill of £80m – an average of £25,000 per rate paying pub – could be the last straw for thousands of pubs,” the BBPA’s chief executive Emma McClarkin said. 

“Given that all these pubs made it through the lockdown – over 15 weeks without being able to open their doors – and have remained viable businesses despite social distancing and significantly lower footfall, it would be devastating for them to fall at the final hurdle in the post-lockdown recovery.

“It would mean much of the Government’s vital support for the sector through lockdown would have been wasted. This is why we are asking the Government to extend the relief and help protect our great British pubs and the hundreds of thousands of jobs they support.

“Investing in our pubs now will enable them to survive and thrive into 2021 and beyond, help lead the economic recovery and generate a larger tax revenue for the Government in the future.”

Related topics: Legislation

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