Industry Responds To Labour Manifesto

Leading trade bodies have responded to the Labour Party manifesto announced yesterday, May 16th.

The ALMR has welcomed pledges made by the Labour Party on reforming business rates but has expressed concern over increasing wage costs for employers.

Kate Nicholls, ALMR’s chief executive, said: “The confirmation that a Labour government would extend rates relief to small music venues and undertake a full review of the system is very welcome.

“The current unfair system of business rates has been one of the ALMR’s chief concerns over the years and a complete reform of the system is overdue.”

Nicholls added: “We are concerned, however, that policies with the manifesto have the potential to significantly increase costs for employers. Labour has pledged to ban zero-hour contracts and increase the level of the National Minimum Wage to that of the Living Wage.”

Nicholls has expressed belief that National Minimum Wage increases should be done with the recommendation of the Low Pay Commission as businesses could struggle to afford the increase.

Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s National Chairman says:

“It’s great to see Labour’s manifesto recognise the crucial role pubs play in local community life. With 21 closing every week, the national review of pubs they propose could grant many a much-needed lifeline – but to have real effect it must include action to relieve the tax burden on pubs and a commitment to keep the behaviour of large pub companies under active review.

“We also strongly welcome the proposed review of business rates. Tackling the unacceptable burden on pubs – which pay 2.8% of all business rates but account for only 0.5% of total business turnover – is long overdue. CAMRA would like to see pubs granted a permanent business rates relief of £5,000 per year.

“We would urge Labour candidates who are serious about supporting Britain’s pubgoers and beer drinkers to sign up to CAMRA’s #pledgeforpubs. 216 candidates already have.

“We also look forward to seeing details of how other parties respond to the challenge of protecting and championing the UK’s beer and pubs sector over the next five years.”

BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds said:

“I would welcome all parties highlighting the importance of pubs in their manifesto. Any national review of how policies affect pubs would need to be broad ranging and in particular look at the impact of regulation and high taxes on the sector. Reforming the unfair business rate system, and action on beer duty, which is three times the European average would encourage growth and investment.”