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CAMRA calls for a reduction in high business rates hike

Written by Tom Blakemore

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is calling for a reduction of up to £5,000 from pubs’ business rates and an improved transitional relief model for pubs facing high increases in rates ahead of the Spring Budget next week.

CAMRA is concerned that four in 10 pubs in England will be facing an increased business rate bill this year, which could lead to pub closures, job losses and a rise in the price of a pint in pubs. The Campaign is calling for urgent action in this year’s Budget to assist affected pubs, which includes a £5,000 rate relief reduction and greater funding for transitional caps to help reduce bill increases in the first year.

Beyond these immediate measures, CAMRA would also like to see a fundamental review of business rates to determine where the burden lies and ensure that successful pub landlords are not unfairly penalised for investing in their business.

Keith Bott, joint owner of Titanic Brewery, a small business that owns and operates eight pubs in Staffordshire said that the increase in rates will cost his business “tens of thousands of pounds” once a transitional rate relief period ends in five years. He says: “We’ve seen a 25% increase in rateable values across the board which for pubs is based on property value and turnover. The government needs to recognise and understand that in many instances this means we are taxed on success. Pubs are responsible for 0.5% of turnover of the UK economy but pay 2.8% of business rates.”

Sean Hughes, landlord of The Boot pub in St Albans, claims his rates bill is set to soar by 280% over five years from £14,000 a year to £52,000. He says: “It leaves us in a very difficult situation. We’ve worked out we’ll have to sell an additional 22,000 pints of beer a year just to pay for the increase. I can’t see how we’re going to do that. It’ll have a huge impact on our family run business – it makes you wonder if it’s worth it.”

CAMRA’s National Chairman Colin Valentine says: “Pubs across England are continuing to struggle with high levels of taxation. Around one-third of the cost of a pint in a pub is made up of one tax or another. Many pubs are facing increases in the amount they pay in business rates and ultimately, it will be the consumers who pay the price as publicans are forced to put up prices.

“While around half of pubs will benefit from changes in business rates set to be introduced in April, others will face large increases and we must to do more to reduce the tax burden. Pubs provide a vital role in the communities they serve. Enjoying a pint in a pub has a hugely beneficial impact on a person’s wellbeing – making people feel happier and better connected to their local community. We want to level the playing field for pubs in order for them to continue to service local communities.”

CAMRA is also calling on the Treasury to reduce beer duty by 1p to help cap the price of beer, keeping more money in consumers’ pockets and helping the pubs and brewing sector to grow. Over 4,000 members have contacted their MP to persuade them to support these measures in this year’s Budget. You can do the same by clicking this link and sending a message to your MP and the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

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