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  • A very welcome move. Dropping the salary threshold would help Britain’s pubs recruit skilled overseas workers, such… https://t.co/t2ydnOLHno

    1 day ago @beerandpub

  • RT @BrigidSimmonds: Third on the list of things to do in the UK for overseas visitors is to visit a pub, 7 out of 10 visit a pub whilst the…

    1 day ago @beerandpub

  • Today we've responded to the Government’s announcement of the mandatory introduction of full ingredient labelling f… https://t.co/X6WGDl4hOq

    1 day ago @beerandpub


  • A sector deal for tourism is essential for pubs and hospitality

    Brigid Simmonds | 12 April 2019

    A version of this blog originally appeared in Propel Hospitality. Last week was English Tourism Week. As a sector that directly and indirectly contributes £106bn in GDP and supports 2.6 million jobs, it was a fitting occasion to recognise the vital contribution tourism makes to the UK, both economically and culturally. The Tourism Alliance, which represents more than 50 trade associations crucial to England’s tourism offer, including the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), kicked off English Tourism Week with an annual conference I was privileged to attend. The highlight of the conference was hearing minister for tourism Michael Ellis speak so highly of the sector and the importance of investment in businesses that drive visitors to popular tourist destinations, whether staycationers or from overseas. Michael noted how the Discover England Fund has an important role to play in this, as do the Coastal Communities Fund and Future High Streets Fund, all showing the UK is open for business and a great place for tourists. On the day of yet another Brexit vote, it was fitting Michael emphasised how important our reputation for hospitality excellence is when attracting visitors from around the world. More significantly, Michael suggested we are close to getting a sector deal for tourism over the line. In a week that also saw a House of Lords Select Committee report recommend the government should press ahead with this deal, English Tourism Week was a good time to announce this. The perennial elephant in the room when it comes to tourism and hospitality businesses is, of course, business rates so it was fitting we held a panel session during the conference to discuss its impact. From pubs, restaurants and hotels to historic houses and leisure attractions – the businesses key to English tourism’s success story all require physical properties to operate and face an unfair business rate burden. Numbers surrounding the business rates that tourism and hospitality businesses face make uncomfortable reading. Following the 2017 rates revaluation, South West Tourism Alliance saw a rates increase of between 43% and 71% for professional self-caterers with more than 13 beds. BBPA research reveals pubs pay 2.7% of the entire business rates bill despite accounting for only 0.5% of business turnover. The current business rates system is clearly obsolete and needs a complete overhaul. The damage it is doing to our pubs and the wider hospitality sector – particularly when combined with other major tax burdens such as beer duty – is a huge concern for what is a crucial part of England’s tourism offer. At the end of English Tourism Week I settled down for a pub lunch with Mims Davies, minister for sport with responsibilities for gambling and tackling loneliness. At the Good Companions in Eastleigh, a wonderful example of an English pub, the struggle against the tax burden hospitality businesses such as pubs face felt real indeed. Dan and Claire, who lease the pub from Star Pubs & Bars, offer exceptional food and drink. Dan was recently elected to the board of the local Business Improvement District to ensure a vibrant but safe nightlife in Eastleigh – something that’s crucial for all tourist hot spots. Beyond this, Dan and Claire take part in various initiatives to help tackle loneliness in the community. Hospitality businesses including pubs such as the Good Companions are vital in driving economic growth through job creation and attracting visitors to an area to spend their money. Beyond this they also have a clear role in tackling loneliness, which is so important to our mental health and community cohesion. Cuts to business rates and beer duty would go a long way in helping pubs specifically but also supporting the hospitality sector as a whole and the vital role it plays in England’s tourism offer. A sector deal for tourism remains essential. Let’s hope the minister for tourism is right in saying it’s almost in our grasp.

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  • New regulations provide greater detail to publicans about allowances for beer wastage, says BBPA

    11 April 2019

    The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has today responded to the publication of new guidance by the Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA) for beer wastage allowances. The new guidance was published on Wednesday 10thApril and comes into effect from Monday 1stJuly. It seeks to give greater transparency to publicans on the inclusion of wastage allowances in their rent calculations. The new guidance comes after the PCA consulted the industry on the matter at the end of 2018. Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, comments: “Brewers and pub operators have always made allowances for beer wastage to account for beer that can’t be sold. The BBPA therefore supported the PCA’s proposals to make these clearer and more transparent. “Unfortunately, in the new guidance, the PCA has increased the complexity of how allowances should be calculated and presented. This may confuse, rather than help, publicans. It will also lead to higher administrative costs and complexity for pub operators, who will need to modify their systems to reflect the greater detail now required. “The new guidance acknowledges that there could be situations where third party suppliers are unable to provide pub operators with all of the information they require.”

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  • BBPA welcomes House of Lords report on regenerating seaside towns

    04 April 2019

    The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has today welcomed a new report by the House of Lords Select Committee on Regenerating Seaside Towns and Communities, titled: “The Future of Seaside Towns”. The report, which BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds contributed to through a Select Committee hearing, notes how many seaside towns continue to rely on tourism and hospitality as key economic drivers. Launched during English Tourism Week – the annual celebration of tourism in England – the report has fittingly recommended that a Sector Deal for Tourism could play a key role in regenerating seaside towns. In particular, it proposes that efforts are made to promote and champion hospitality – a key part of England’s tourism offer – as a rewarding and exciting career. Likewise, the report has noted concerns with regards to future Government migration policy, reflecting the views of the BBPA that any future immigration system must ensure that tourism and hospitality businesses, so crucial to seaside towns, have access to talent from abroad. Local leadership is identified in the report as being key to helping seaside towns regenerate and grow, as shown by Brighton, Colwyn Bay and Bogner Regis, who all reached the finals of the Great British High Street Awards. Investment and work undertaken by Dan Davies, CEO of Rockpoint Leisure, in New Brighton is also shown in the report as an example of how hospitality can play a leading role in the regeneration of seaside towns. Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, comments: “We welcome this report and its recognition of the leading role hospitality and tourism businesses like pubs can play in the regeneration of seaside towns. “To help seaside towns prosper, it is vital that businesses like pubs get all the support they can to drive growth. It is encouraging that the report sees a Sector Deal for Tourism as playing a key role in regenerating seaside towns and that efforts should be made to champion and promote careers in the pub, hospitality and tourism industries. “Local licensing and planning authorities working together in support of the Agent of Change principle are also key to the future success of our seaside towns if they are to have a vibrant night time economy. It is important too that Local Economic Partnerships deliver on their core objectives to promote local economic growth and do not isolate coastal areas that are hard to tackle.”

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  • Rates revaluation - pubs must act quickly to avoid fines and red tape, warns BBPA

    29 March 2019

    If they haven’t already, pubs will soon receive a form of return from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) Publicans have just 56 days to complete and return the form, or they could be liable for a penalty Failure to respond could also mean higher business rates bills and fines, BBPA warns pubs The BBPA is alerting publicans that they need to act quickly in response to a looming letter from the VOA about their rateable valuation, if they want to avoid fines and unnecessary ‘red tape’. The call comes because the VOA is once again commencing the data collection process ahead of the next revaluation period, which commences in April 2021. As is practice, the VOA are now writing to licensees requesting trading data that will feed into the revaluation process. This information will be used to calculate the rateable value of every pub in England and Wales, which forms the basis on which every pub’s business rates bill is calculated. From receiving the forms, publicans have an initial 28 days to respond, followed by a second reminder two weeks later, which provides a further two weeks to reply. If the form isn’t returned within this 56 day time-limit, publicans could be liable for a penalty, as well as a longer form to fill out for the VOA. If publicans have any questions about the survey, the VOA encourages the publicans to contact them directly. BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds comments: “To avoid more hassle and unnecessary paperwork, all licensees should look out for this short form from today and return it as soon as possible. While we continue to lead the call for a fairer rating system for pubs and a total review of business rates, further burdens and inconvenience can be avoided by looking out for this short form from the VOA and acting quickly to fill it in as soon as it arrives.”

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  • BBPA responds to new study calculating alcohol cancer risk in cigarette equivalents

    28 March 2019

    The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has today responded to a new study calculating alcohol cancer risk in cigarette equivalents. Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “This is an absurd study which does little to educate people about the harms of excessive alcohol consumption. “Scientific research continues to support that beer consumed in moderation can be part of a balanced lifestyle and diet, when consumed by healthy adults without underlying medical conditions. “It is irresponsible and confusing to try and equate the risks of smoking and drinking alcohol. It is often the case that those who drink heavily also smoke heavily, which greatly increases the risk of developing cancer. The impact on health from smoking is clear and this study risks undermining important public health messages about the dangers of smoking at any level.”

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  • BBPA welcomes additional government funding for Pub is the Hub

    26 March 2019

    The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has today welcomed additional government funding forPub is the Hub, the organisation that helps bring communities together by expanding their services beyond food and drink. The additional government funding – worth £188,000 – will be used for 76 new projects, which will see rural pubs deliver additional services including new Post Office facilities, grocery shops and libraries. Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “As the original social network, pubs are at the heart of our communities and play a vital role in our lives by bringing us together. “The pub is far more than just a place to eat and drink. The work of Pub is the Hubwith funding and expert support shows how vital pubs can be to delivering other services of community value from Post Office facilities to grocery shops and libraries. “This additional Pub is the Hubfunding will boost rural, community pubs across the UK, helping them remain viable. Pub is the Hub is a great charity which everyone in brewing and pubs supports. This additional funding will encourage others to support it too.”

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