The Welsh government has announced plans to ensure pub and bar operators are not mistakeably penalised for improving their venues or investing in renewables.
In response to consultations on renewable energy rates support and improvement rates relief, trade body UKHospitality Cymru has said the plans will incentivise hospitality businesses to invest in their venues to reduce their carbon footprints and improve the customer experience.
David Chapman, UKHospitality Cymru executive director, says the plans are a positive demonstration of Welsh government backing business.
He also urged government to go even further by making the measures permanent and to consider other areas, including desperately needed business rates reform, which could support the industry as it continues to rebuild.
“I’d encourage the government to go a few steps further by making the renewables proposal permanent and extending the proposed relief period for buildings improvements from 12 months to 24 months, in addition to considering a radical rethink of business rates reform.”
The move in Wales comes after the overall rate of inflation fell slightly again across the UK. While this is a small piece of positive news for pub and bar operators, a higher level of inflation will still mean a greater business rates increase next year.
“Another fall in the overall rate of inflation is encouraging and indicates a positive trend,” says UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls. “However, core inflation remaining flat at 7% does raise serious concerns that hospitality businesses will be hit hard by an inflation-linked hike in business rates next year.
“With rate increases following the September inflation rate, we need to see a dramatic fall in inflation by then or hospitality will face a business rates bill running into the hundreds of millions.
“It’s clear the fall in the overall rate has been driven by decreasing energy costs, which suggests further action on energy could result in inflation coming down far more rapidly. Ofgem has set out a number of recommendations to clean up the energy market and these should be implemented as soon as possible.”