The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has welcomed the return of the Great British High Streets Competition for 2018, which shines the light on Britain’s best high streets and their vital contribution to the soul and economic viability of towns and cities across the UK.
The BBPA has been a member of the Governments High Streets forum since 2014 and Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the BBPA, has been a judge for all four previous Great British High Street competitions.
Although celebrating the UK’s high streets is important, the BBPA believes that pubs on the high street pay a disproportionate amount of business rates. BBPA figures indicate that pubs pay 2.8% of the total business rates bill, yet only account for 0.5% of total rateable turnover. This is an overpayment, relative to turnover, of £500 million.
With many retailers closing their stores, the leisure offer of the high street – in particular pubs – has become increasingly important for driving footfall back to the UK’s high streets. The BBPA knows that pubs, which are the beating heart of their local communities already, can play a key role in driving footfall back to the high street.
The BBPA is clear that business rates need to be reviewed and a new, fairer way to tax businesses as an alternative to a property tax needs to be developed. Whilst the Treasury remains committed to a finite sum to be collected through business rates, pubs and other businesses still standing on the high street will have to pay more to meet the shortfall. This is unfair and adds further pressure on high street businesses.
BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds commented:
“The high street is an important part of any town or city in the UK and the Great British high streets competition is a fantastic way to celebrate this. We would urge high streets up and down the country to enter the competition. Our experience from previous years makes clear that local leadership, partnerships, events and an understanding of their local market really can make a difference.
“However, with consumer spending on the high street down, and many choosing to do their shopping online instead, pubs and the wider hospitality industry are more important to the prosperity of our high streets than ever before. Currently pubs shoulder an unfair business rates burden and they need support from the Government. This means creating a more level playing field, whereby online retailers pay a fairer share of the total rates.”