The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) is urging the government to extend its business rates relief to save thousands of pubs from closure.
Responding to the Business Rates Review launched this year by the government, the first stage of which closes this week, the trade association has explained that should the pub sector-specific relief on business rates end as planned in March 2021, UK pubs will immediately face a bill of £800m – an average bill of £25,000 per rate-paying pub.
With as many as one-third of pubs at present struggling to break even post-lockdown, many won’t have the cash required to pay the business rates bill in the new year.
The BBPA has said that such the situation could likely see thousands of pubs close at the last hurdle in their long road to recovery post Covid-19 lockdown. The trade association is therefore urging the government to extend its pub sector relief on business rates for at least another year, as part of the government’s ongoing review and with submissions due this week.
Extending the rate relief could save tens of thousands of jobs and secure future tax revenue from pubs in the longer term, as well as preserving thousands of pubs that are the heart of their communities across the UK.
“Given that all these pubs made it through the lockdown – over 15 weeks without being able to open their doors – and have remained viable businesses despite social distancing and significantly lower footfall, it would be devastating for them to fall at the final hurdle in the post-lockdown recovery,” says Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA (pictured).
“It would mean much of the government’s vital support for the sector through lockdown would have been wasted. This is why we are asking the government to extend the relief and help protect our great British pubs and the hundreds of thousands of jobs they support.
“Investing in our pubs now will enable them to survive and thrive into 2021 and beyond, help lead the economic recovery and generate a larger tax revenue for the government in the future.”