With one week to go until local elections, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) is calling on candidates to protect their community’s pubs by backing calls for fairer business rates, following the permanent closure of over 800 pubs in the past two years.
With rates collected by local authorities, one of the single biggest ways councillors could help save their favourite local from closure would be to call for fairer business rates to help lessen the financial burden pubs face – as pubs typically pay five times more on average in business rates than other sectors.
800+ pubs were forced to close their doors for good during the pandemic because of prolonged periods of closure and rising overheads. However, where pubs were able to remain open a recent study suggests that 37% of people said their local pub became even more important to their community during the pandemic. In addition, pubs contribute £26.2billion to local economies across the UK each year as well as providing a vital shop window for Britain’s world-renowned brewing industry.
The call follows the launch of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association’s local elections manifesto, which made Scotland-specific recommendations on a road to recovery after the pandemic, including the appointment of Night Czars in Edinburgh and Glasgow, like the roles of Sacha Lord in Manchester and Amy Lamé in London.
Now, the BBPA is calling on candidates in the local elections, taking place a week today, to recognise the contribution pubs make to their local community across the whole of the UK and support them by championing the need for fairer business rates. In addition, the BBPA are also calling for candidates to support a cut to beer duty and reduced VAT rates for hospitality to help ease the financial burden faced by pubs and Britain’s brewers.
Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association Emma McClarkin said:
“Pubs are the beating heart of communities up and down the country but many of them are at serious risk of closing permanently due to increased costs, rising overheads and customers who have fewer pence in their back pocket.
“The upcoming local elections are a time to reflect on what’s important to us in our neighbourhoods. That’s why we are urging candidates to get behind their local pubs by supporting our call for fairer business rates, so they can continue to be a place where communities come together and thrive.”