Licensed hospitality worst affected by crippling rates increases
The ALMR has repeated calls for sector-specific action on business rates and highlighted the problem being faced by the country’s pubs, bars and restaurants.
The move follows a suggestion by Centre for Cities that business will benefit from the recent business rates revaluation.
Telephone calls to the British Institute of Innkeeping’s (BII) helpline show examples of increases in rateable value across England.
ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “What the Centre for Cities’ report fails to acknowledge is exactly the point that we have been emphasising: that spiralling business rates is a sector-specific issue threatening the UK’s pubs, bars and restaurants. A number of other sectors such as offices, industrial and retail may be looking at average decreases, but licensed hospitality is the only sector facing an average increase in every region in England.
“The nature of a fiscally neutral revaluation means that wherever there are decreases in rateable value, there must also be increases to balance this. Pubs, bars and restaurants are the businesses set to shoulder this substantial and inequitable burden. Phone calls from licensees to the BII helpline underline the scale of the problem: with sample of 30 pubs reporting over £300,000 worth of increases in rateable value compared to just £28,000 worth of reductions. Pubs in areas that the Centre for Cities states will benefit most from the revaluation are still being hit hard. A pub in Blackburn, the town looking at the greatest decrease in rateable values is still facing an 8% increase, while a pub not far from Blackpool is facing a 29% increase. We are also seeing pubs near Huddersfield and Bradford looking at 40% and 9% increases respectively and a venue near Sunderland facing a 30% hike.
“A recent study by CGA Peach shows that 79% of business leaders are concerned about rising business rates. Many of our members tell us that they are looking at substantial increases and are concerned about how they will foot the increased bill. Clearly this is a real area of concern for our members and the wider sector. Our members are not exaggerating when they say that increased rates bills could potentially be ruinous for them and their concerns should not be ignored or dismissed out of hand.”