A quarter of independent pubs in the UK think that the £1,000 temporary decrease in business rates for pubs announced in the Budget could be the difference between staying open and closing for good.
That's according to a survey by technology company Epos Now, which was carried out after chancellor Philip Hammond's Spring announcement on 8 March.
However, in a climate where 40% of pubs surveyed say they are ‘just about managing' or ‘struggling', half of the overall survey sample said that Hammond should revamped the business rate system altogether, while 15% said that the rate decrease should be a permanent fixture.
Jacyn Heavens, CEO of Epos Now, said: "It's a positive that Philip Hammond has taken practical steps to relieve the burden on pubs in this country. The industry has been going through difficult times in recent years and it needs support to help it grow and prosper today and in the future. More needs to be done however to safeguard the long-term future of the sector.
"Small pubs matter to the UK economy as they help boost communities and bring with them jobs and investment. The Chancellor needs to listen to their concerns and focus on measures like a revamp of business rates that will deliver real long-term benefits across the sector."
Although the chancellor said he was unable to abolish the rates entirely, he outlined three measures to help struggling businesses, including: the £1,000 discount on business rate bills for 90% of UK pubs; a £300m fund for local authorities to provide relief for hard-hit businesses and a promise to all businesses that will lose the small business rate relief that they will not see their business rates bill increase by more than £50 per month next year.
The temporary relief was criticised by Ufi Ibrahim, the chief executive of the BHA, who called it "a tiny drop in the ocean".
She said: "We remain extremely worried that some small hospitality businesses, facing an average 23% rates increase, will be forced out of business. In addition the hike in alcohol duty will cancel out any headline grabbing relief on business rates with the Chancellor effectively robbing ‘Peter to pay Paul'.
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