Happy Hour For Pubs As Government Cuts Business Rates

Pub owners will be pulling a celebratory pint today after the Chancellor announced he would be slashing their bills by £1,000.

In a fresh demonstration of the government’s support for communities up and down the country, Sajid Javid confirmed the new Pubs Relief would be introduced in April, with £1,000 being taken off the business rates bills of small pubs who qualify.

As many as 18,000 pubs are expected to benefit from the discount.

The relief will come on top of an extended retail discount, which smaller pubs are also eligible for. Those eligible for both reliefs will get up to £13,500 off their annual bills.

The Pubs Relief is part of a package of measures that is being introduced by the government to support local high streets. From April this year:

  • small shops and cafes will see their bills halved as the retail discount, currently a third off, is extended to 50%
  • music venues and cinemas will become eligible for the retail discount
  • a £1,500 discount for local newspapers office space will be extended for a further five years

Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid said:

Thousands of pubs will get £1,000 off their rates bills this April, thanks to the changes we’re announcing today.

These will mean lower rates for the small independent shops, cafes and locals at the heart of our communities, as well as for the local papers that are a vital pillar in local democracy.

Community Pubs Minister Luke Hall said:

Pubs are front and centre of communities around the country, the key to thousands of jobs and providing a meeting point for local residents to get together and enjoy a pint.

Today’s business rates cut continues our firm commitment to support pub owners, helping to keep the pints pouring and the locals happy.

The government is committed to launching a fundamental review of business rates. Further details will be announced in due course.

ONS stats released last week showed that the number of small pubs and bars rose last year.

The support for pubs comes following the announcement of more than £1m for community pubs. The funding will help an estimated 100 new groups to take ownership of and save their local, or support essential community services in pubs in rural and remote areas.

Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality CEO, said: “This is fantastic news for pubs and other high-street businesses who are taking too much of the pain from business taxes. The economy has evolved and the tax system needs to catch up. Taxing property higher than the rest of the developed world is a recipe for the decimation of our high-streets and communities, which we have already started to see.

“At the Budget in March we need to see drastic action to cut the cost of running a business regardless of size. Costs are on the rise, particularly with the planned 6.2% increase in the National Living Wage in April. We will be proposing a range of measures, including further cuts in business rates for all hospitality businesses and a cut in employment taxes to support firms in delivering higher take-home pay.”

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:

“Pubs are the heart of our communities, so this commitment to ease the burden of business rates is great news.

“On business rates alone, pubs pay 2.8% of the business rates bill, despite accounting for just 0.5% of turnover. Reducing rates for pubs is an important step in the right direction. Such reliefs are vital until the fundamentally unfair system is overhauled. However, some large pubs, and those that are subject to state aid restrictions, will be unable to claim this relief. Once the UK leaves the EU, the Government should look at reform of the state aid rules. It is also important local authorities work to ensure that these reliefs are as simple to claim as possible.

“Given that seven in ten alcoholic drinks sold in a pub are beer, the most direct way of helping all pubs is to cut beer duty.”