By Denis Sheehan, Publisher, H&C News: BBPA questions Department for Levelling Up on unfair rates balance.The Department for Levelling Up
The British Beer and Pub Association has responded to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Community and Treasury’s joint technical consultation on moving to a three-yearly business rates cycle, calling for exemptions to proposed Duty to Notify requirements for pubs.
The brewing and pub industry in the UK makes a major contribution to the local and national economy. The sector generates £26 billion of economic value and supports 940,000 jobs, and 85% of pubs in the UK are run as SMEs.
However, the sector has also long suffered from over-taxation on business rates. Pubs pay more in business, per pound of turnover, than any other business sector. The business rates bill for the sector accounts for 2.5% of total business rates paid despite only representing 0.5% of total rateable turnover, an overpayment of £570 million.
The submission by the BBPA highlights these statistics and states that as one of the highest taxed sectors per pound of turnover, that the potential benefits of more frequent revaluations will be more than offset by the increase the administrative burden and cost to publicans up and down the country.
Within the response the BBPA makes numerous recommendations to improve the proposed new system, including:
- Totally exempting properties not currently paying business rates under SBRR exemptions and residential elements.
- Extending timelines for filing from 30 days to three months, and for appeals, from three months to six months.
- Dramatically reducing the trigger for filing requirements to reflect only the most essential changes that would impact on a pub’s Fair Maintainable Trade to avoid unnecessary administrative burdens.
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said: “It is clear the proposed changes to the business rates system to improve fairness will be totally undermined by the increase the administrative burden and cost to publicans up and down the UK.
“Pubs and brewers are at the heart of communities fostering social cohesion as we reconnect and recover from the pandemic. With the required support our sector can deliver jobs and additional economic value in every part of the UK, supporting levelling up and the regeneration of high streets and town and city centres up and down the country.”