A host of industry bodies, including the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), the Association for Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), and the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) has called on Chancellor George Osborne to secure "a fairer deal for pubs".
The open letter, sent to the chancellor ahead of the Autumn Statement on 25 November, has three main points, calling on the government to:
Freeze the business rates multiplier, which the group alleges will benefit all pubs and bring £5m to the sector
Extend small business rate relief for another year, benefiting 15,000 pubs
Apply ‘Retail Relief' for another year, increasing the discount to £2,000 per year per pub, in the scheme that provides a discount for pubs with a rateable value of £50,000 or less
The group also highlighted that business rates can greatly disadvantage small pubs, which account for 2.8% of all UK receipts from this tax, despite making up 0.5% of turnover.
The full list of signees comprises the BBPA, the ALMR, and the BII, plus the Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations (FLVA), the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), Brewing, Food & Beverage Industry Suppliers' Association (BFBI), the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA), and the Guild of Master Victuallers (GMV).
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of BBPA, commented: "More action from the government in the Autumn Statement is needed, as pubs are hugely overburdened. In the longer term, we need to ensure that the rates burden can be spread across a much wider range of business, and across the whole economy."
ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls commented: "The businesses that are driving growth across the UK's high streets are bearing a disproportionate burden. The government must act decisively to ensure a fair and flexible system that treats all businesses equally in the way they are assessed and encourages success."