Nearly half of Britain's rural pubs could be missing out on vital funds to help them weather the recession, a new report has warned.
According to a survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) village businesses, including pubs, are entitled to 50% relief - and in some cases up to 100% relief - on their business rates under a Rural Rate Relief scheme.
However, nearly half (47%) of operators are currently missing out.
The report, A New Approach to the Rural Economy](https://cms.thecaterer.com/app/uploads/easid-22098.jpg), warns that many local authorities are failing to offer relief for businesses and up to 13 rural pubs are consequently closing a week.
It called on the Treasury to make more funds available to local authorities so they can grant 100% rate relief for a fixed period of just 12 months to help local businesses survive in the recession.
Linda Walton, rural affairs and tourism chairman for the FSB, said: "Every week we hear of the death of village shops and pubs yet the Rural Rate Relief scheme, which was set up to help these rural businesses, is being chronically underused.
"Village pubs and shops are at the heart of village life and the failure of such a business can devastate local communities. The Treasury must enable local authorities to give 100% rate relief during this downturn."
By Emma White
E-mail your comments to Emma White here.
Looking for a new job? Find your next pub job here with Caterersearch.com jobs