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Government urged to stick to promises on business rates reforms

24 April 2017 by
Government urged to stick to promises on business rates reforms

The government has been urged to stick to its promise for rates relief for pubs, after communities secretary Sajid Javid commented last week that business rates reform was not a "priority issue".

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) called on the government to stick to reform of what it said was an unfair tax system, after it emerged that a review which it was hoped would better tax the digital economy had been sidelined following Prime Minister Theresa May's decision to call a general election for 8 June.

Javid told MPs that a plan to spread the tax burden to online firms was "not the highest priority" and "something a future government may want to look at".

He said that the Treasury is expected to consult on the matter "before 2022".

The ALMR said it would be launching an updated version of its Manifesto for Licensed Hospitality calling on all political parties to tackle the ongoing rates problem after the general election.

ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "In the run-up to the Spring Budget a lot of good work was done by the ALMR and others to make sure the problem of exorbitant rates was at the forefront of the conversation. The government announced sector-specific relief and discretionary relief, a good first step, but there is now considerable worry that these promises will be lost in the inevitable disorder that can precede a general election.

"It is vitally important that the government stick to its promise to help tackle rates bills for those businesses under the most pressure, particularly pubs and restaurants that contribute so much but are being disproportionately burdened.

"The ALMR will be launching its newest Manifesto for Licensed Hospitality shortly, which will outline the problems and opportunities facing the sector. The Manifesto will call upon the government to honour its pledge and commit to implementing these measures at the soonest opportunity following the general election, as well as broader root and branch business rates reform. The Manifesto also calls upon all political parties to commit themselves to tackling the increasing and devastating burden of business rates increases and address the imbalance between burdens for high street retailers and online giants.

"It is important that this issue not be forgotten or the government be allowed to quietly ditch the support that the ALMR worked so hard to achieve."

ALMR represents 90% of casual dining brands following new membership spike >>

Hospitality ‘only has itself to blame' for recruitment crisis >>

Sadiq Khan pledges to support London pubs >>

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