ALMR welcomes Government review of business rates
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The ALMR has welcomed Sajid Javid’s comments on business rates and his commitment to levelling the playing field for businesses. The ALMR has reiterated that pubs and bars need targeted support and has confirmed its readiness to work closely with the Government to achieve this.
ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “Overtures by the Minister to level the playing field are very welcome, but he must follow through with his statements and act decisively. In particular, he must address the very specific concerns of the licensed hospitality sector that is uniquely disadvantaged by the current system.
“If he is serious about reform for the sector then the Minister must consider the ALMR’s three chief requests: the introduction of sector-specific relief for pubs and bars, a capping of bills increases, and retention of a robust and fair system for appeals.
“The ALMR has already contacted the Secretary of State to offer to meet with him to share our concerns and provide assistance. We have also contacted pubs located in the constituencies of prominent Cabinet Ministers to coordinate a campaign for venues and ensure that the Government understands fully the magnitude of the problem and follows through on its commitments to businesses.”
Only action on operating costs can safeguard licensed hospitality venues
The ALMR has reacted to the publication of beer statistics by repeating its call for action on operating costs that undermine pubs and bars.
Statistics published today by an industry body show on-trade beer sales declining by 2.2% in 2016 with off-trade sales rising by 0.17%. The ALMR has reiterated that the only way to begin addressing this imbalance is by tackling exorbitant property costs faced by pubs and bars.
ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The fall in on-trade sales and the increase in off-trade sales once again highlights the huge and completely unfair disparity in operating costs for on and off-trade businesses.
“Pub and bars are still paying 18p per pint in rates compared to 2p per pint for supermarkets. If we are serious about addressing the continuing fall in the amount of on-trade beer sold compared to supermarkets, the only way we can do this is by tackling the property costs that uniquely affect pubs and bars.
“Tinkering about at the margins, striving for inconsequential reductions in duty rates has not, and will not, have any meaningful effect on the huge bills currently being shouldered by pubs and bars. Previous tactics to reduce costs for operators by passing on savings have failed. If the sector is serious about safeguarding venues, jobs and investment then it needs to address the crippling operating costs that are holding back pubs and bars and giving off-trade retailers such a massive head start.”