The call for action follows today’s RPI inflation figures of 3.9% which will see the sector pay an additional £60 million in business rates from next April, equivalent to over £1,500 per pub.
The increase is further compounded by the impact of last year’s rates revaluation which continues to lead to an increase in taxes just a year on. Eating and drinking out businesses, particularly pubs, have been hit hard by the latest rates revaluation. Further increases risk undermining investment and could ultimately threaten jobs.
The pub sector is already overpaying on rates by over £500 million and faces further increases of over £125 million during this revaluation period. The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, British Beer & Pub Association, British Institute of Innkeeping, Campaign for Real Ale and Society of Independent Brewers are calling for the extension of business rates relief for pub and an increase in the amount of relief to £5,000 – which would reduce the level of overpayment by about one third.
The group is also calling on the Government to switch to using CPI to calculate rates at the earliest opportunity, which would lessen the impact in 2018 by £6 million.
In a joint statement, the five leading industry and consumer bodies said:
“Pubs have been hit disproportionately hard by the recent business rates increase and we need decisive action urgently. Pubs and other venues pay around 15p per pint in business rates. This is indicative of the skewed and unfair nature of the current system that unreasonably punishes businesses that are vital economically and important social hubs.
“If the Government does not take steps to address this inequality and provide support for vital businesses then investment is going to continue to be undermined and jobs will be at risk. With the current political and economic instability surrounding Brexit, decisive action on business rates would be welcome and timely support.”