Call for fairer pub taxes

Nick Herbert, Arundel and South Downs MP, attending a British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) event at Westminster (photo submitted).
Nick Herbert, Arundel and South Downs MP, attending a British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) event at Westminster (photo submitted).

A call for fairer taxes for the country’s pubs has been supported by Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert.

He met members of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) at Westminster last week (31 October) to hear why they are calling for tax reforms in the sector.

In his constituency the average business rates bill for 2016/17 was £15,520 per pub, and although the average bill was slightly lower for 2016/17 at £14,974, a 29 per cent rise is expected by 2021/22.

This would be significantly more than the overall figures for England, which indicate an average rates rise of 16 per cent by 2022.

Mr Herbert has been contacted by a number of landlords to say that they are facing bills which are thousands of pounds higher next year which they cannot afford to pay.

He said: “I am very aware of the growing tax burdens faced by many of the pubs in West Sussex, and I found the personal briefing from the BBPA very useful.

“I am concerned that the business rates revaluation has hit a number of South Downs pubs. We have already seen too many pubs go from our villages already, and we don’t want to lose more.

“More than 2,000 people are employed locally in the sector, over 700 of them are aged 16-24. I agree that more needs to be done to help our local pubs, including a freeze in beer tax, and I support the call to look again at the business rates paid by pubs.”

The BBPA argue that the business rates burden is disproportionate, with pubs paying five times more in business rates than other sectors, and it is calling for an urgent Government review.

There are 900,000 people who work in the beer and pub industry, of which 46 per cent are young people. The sector as a whole adds nearly £23 billion to the economy, paying £13 billion in tax.

Brigid Simmonds, chief Executive of the BBPA, said: “The positive economic impact of brewing and pubs on the UK economy is clear for all to see, but on a local level the large number of people earning a living from the trade has a huge impact.

“We are calling on the Chancellor to recognise the contribution of our sector by reversing his decision to increase beer taxes earlier in the year and taking action on business rates.

“These figures drive home how important our sector is for a vibrant and thriving local economy, alongside the huge importance of pubs to our local communities.”