Business rates are a major cost to pubs, who pay a disproportionate amount compared to other sectors. In April 2017 there was a revaluation of rates across the UK, with many pubs seeing further significant increases. We believe major reform is required and until that point additional relief should be given specifically for pubs.
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.”
21 February 2019
The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has today commented on the publication of a report by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee on high streets and town centres. The report follows an inquiry to which the BBPA gave evidence. Commenting on the report, Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “As a member of the Government’s Future High Streets Forum, the BBPA has called consistently for the Government to help high streets and town centres. We were also delighted to give evidence to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee on the matter. The Great British High Street’s competition and the new fund for high streets announced in the Budget are both very welcome initiatives, but there is more to be done. “As highlighted in the BBPA’s evidence to the Committee, the current business rates system penalises businesses like pubs for investing in their property, as improvements lead to rates rises. The Committee’s recommendation of exploring the introduction of a 12 month ‘holiday’ on these rates increases is most welcome. This would be a positive step forward in regenerating high streets and town centres across the UK if implemented. “The report also recommends replacing business rates for bricks and mortar businesses with a sales tax or an increase in VAT. As always, the devil is in the detail as to whether this would be effective. In any case, a replacement of business rates would need to address the fact that pubs and high street businesses are unfairly taxed, whilst online retailers are not contributing enough. As the report notes, pubs alone pay 2.8% of the total business rates bill, despite accounting for just 0.5% of total rateable turnover. We welcome the call for the Government to come forward with views on how business rates could be reformed by October this year. Without doubt a full review is required. “The Chancellor Phillip Hammond’s decision to cut business rates for high street and other small businesses by one third for the next two years in the Autumn Budget was most welcome, as was the announcement of the £675 million Future High Streets Fund. These actions, combined with a number of the recommendations outlined in the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee’s report, are a welcome step towards securing the future of the high street and the pubs that serve them.”