Responding to a Government consultation the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has called for reductions in business rates to be reflected in bills instantly alongside a cap on bill increases as part of wider reform urgently required.
Brewing and pub businesses whose rateable value decreases following reviews should instantly reap the benefits of lower bills, the BBPA has proposed in its response to a consultation from the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities.
In response to the Business Rates Reevaluation 2023 which closes today, the leading trade body for the pub and brewing sector called for downward caps to be removed to ensure that any decrease in the cost of business rates be paid back to ratepayers immediately, rather than after incremental decreases over time. Transitional relief is one element of the much larger reform of the rates regime that the Association is calling for to rebalance a system where pubs currently overpay by more the £500 million relative to their turnover.
The call comes as many pubs and breweries struggle with skyrocketing bills due to inflation, causing decreased profitability and many having to operate reduced opening hours as a result. In its full response, the BBPA argued a review of business rates to ensure they are ‘fair and in line’ with other industries would help alleviate these pressures and encourage more investment into and throughout the sector.
Alongside fundamental reform to business rates, the BBPA’s submission called for:
– The removal of a downward cap
– A cap on increases to bills
Commenting on the review, Emma McClarkin Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said:
“Our industry is trying to bounceback fully from the pandemic but we need incentives to invest and revitalise our brewing and pub businesses. Major reform of business rates is vital to enable this, supported by the ability for those pubs whose valuation has fallen to benefit immediately.
“As it stands, pubs are penalised by an outdated system which puts them at a disadvantage to other similar sized businesses. As part of wider reform, we need a transitional relief mechanism that ensures that pubs and breweries benefit from reductions in bills instantly, rather than waiting for money to be paid back to them so they are able to invest and grow their businesses.”