Business Rates – BBPA Strengthens Calls for Rates Relief and Reform for Pubs

Brigid Simmonds OBE, BBPA Chief Executive
Brigid Simmonds OBE, BBPA Chief Executive

Following last week’s indications from the Government that it would look again at the system of transitional relief for business rates in the run up to the Budget, the BBPA has strengthened its call for a scheme of relief specific for pubs. This would provide a targeted, shot-in-the-arm for pubs, which are being very unfairly burdened by the business rates system.

BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds has set out key issues in a letter to Business Secretary, Sajid Javid MP. Mrs Simmonds says that immediate rates relief, alongside longer term reforms would build on the work already done by the Government, in taking up earlier calls from the BBPA and others to provide more relief, and could give more, much-loved community pubs a zero-rating.

The BBPA is also proposing further transitional relief for pubs, which could be achieved by increasing the current threshold to cover pubs with a ratable value up to £200,000 (from the current £100,000 RV). This would bring an estimated benefit of £16 million across 2,378 pubs – an average saving of nearly £7,000. Most of these pubs remain small businesses and operate on very tight margins, so the current reliefs are simply not generous enough.

Finally, BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds has reiterated BBPA calls for a fundamental review of the business rate system and how it works for pubs. As pubs are rated on turnover, investment often results in a rise in business rates, creating a disincentive to invest that is damaging for the pub trade as a whole.

Brigid Simmonds BBPA Chief Executive, comments:

“Pubs pay 2.8 per cent of the entire business rates bill, yet generate only 0.5 per cent of bushiness turnover. This is an unfair situation that needs to be addressed by a fundamental review. In the mean-time, targeted relief for the pub sector would help more pubs to deal with this burden in the short term. I hope the Government will take this on board in the Budget on 8th March.”