The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has written to the Department for Communities and Local Government calling for action on business rates as a matter of urgency.
Eating and drinking out businesses overpay by £1b, the letter states, and it also highlights that the £1,000 rebate to pubs promised by Philip Hammond in the Spring Budget has not yet been paid to many.
It also points out the disparity in rates bills being paid by high street businesses and online businesses.
The letter calls for the Government to go forward with a wholesale, root and branch reform of the rates system that was assured at the Spring Budget and during election campaigning.
ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This General Election has not provided much in the way of stability, but one thing the Government can do to help support businesses is push ahead with much-needed reform of a broken business rates system.
“In the run up to the election there was absolute consensus between the main parties that business rates needed to be addressed. The Government needs to make good on its previous promise to reform the system and support pubs and restaurants paying a disproportionate amount through an unfair system. This needs to be done first thing and as a matter of urgency.
“Eating and drinking out businesses are paying around £1b more than if they were being assessed on a turnover-based system. The current system treats pubs, restaurants and bars little better than cash cows and must be radically changed to give businesses a fair opportunity to grow and succeed. This makes a stark comparison to online businesses based away from high streets that have seen their rates bills actually drop.
“We have also highlighted the fact that many pubs have still not received the £1,000 relief they were promised and we have pushed the Government to make sure this rebate is applied and extended to even more businesses, particularly restaurants.
“Our letter also calls for the Government to ensure that rates appeals are dealt with accurately and promptly. Too many businesses are waiting too long to have their disputes resolved, all the while unsure about what costs they should be paying.
“The ALMR has extended a welcoming hand to the new Government and stressed that it is ready, willing and able to do its part to help support our incredibly important eating and drinking out sector.”
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