Good news for the pub and bar industry in Budget announcement

In today’s Budget announcement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has delivered the following good news for the pub and bar industry:

  • the £1,000 business rates relief for pubs with a rateable value of under £100,000 will be continued until March 2019 in order to “support thousands of small pubs at the heart of so many communities”,
  • the changeover in indexation of business rates from RPI to CPI will be brought forward by two years to 2018,
  • the frequency of property revaluations will be increased from every five to every three years from 2025, and
  • all alcohol duties (including beer duty) will be frozen, with the exception of duty on high-strength “white ciders” that will be increased via new legislation.

To read more about the background to this news, see Suzanne Davies’ article for Pub & Bar Magazine from earlier this month entitled “The continuing business rates debacle”

Full details of the Budget Statement can be found here.


ALMR: The ALMR has welcomed support outlined in the Budget Statement on alcohol duty and business rates and urges the Government to follow this good work with continued reform of business rates to help support the UK’s valuable eating and drinking out sector. ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said:

  • “At a time of rising costs, a freeze in the beer duty and a continuation of support for pubs on business rates is very welcome.
  • The ALMR has been pushing for a duty freeze across all alcohol types, and this positive action will help tackle rising costs, saving the sector around £116 million, as well as underpinning consumer confidence.
  • An extension of the pub-specific rates relief will save the sector almost £20 million and bringing forward the move from RPI to CPI to calculate bills, something the ALMR has pushed for, will save almost to £100 million over four years.
  • The promise of more frequent revaluations is also welcome and something the ALMR has lobbied for, although we are concerned that, in practice, there may be some administrative burdens which will need to be addressed.
  • It is also good to see the Government accepting the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission on the rate of the National Living Wage, de-politicising the decision. Although this may present a modest financial burden for employers it will also put money in the pockets of our customers.
  • This shows that the Government has listened to the concerns of the sector, the concerns of ALMR members, and acted to support vital hospitality businesses at a time of economic and political instability. The ALMR has worked hard to communicate the pressures being faced by eating and drinking out businesses and it is good to see the Chancellor acknowledging these challenges and listening to what businesses have to say.
  • The next step is for the Government to push ahead with its promised package of root and branch reform for business rates, and the ALMR is looking forward to working closely with the Government to deliver change.”

BBPA: Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget speech, BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds said:

  • “The Chancellor’s decision to freeze beer duty and cancel his planned rise is an early Christmas present for beer drinkers and pubgoers worth £117 million this year and in subsequent years. It will secure over 3,000 jobs in pubs and the wider beer supply chain that would otherwise have been lost. This real-terms duty cut shows he has listened to our campaign and the concerns of pubs and pubgoers, and acknowledged the special role that beer and pubs play in the nation’s social life.
  • With over 80 per cent of the beer drunk in the UK brewed in the UK, he has understood the important capital investment made in the UK by our members. This is absolutely the right step towards a fairer deal for Britain’s beer drinkers and pubgoers and a vote of confidence in a very British manufacturing industry worth £23 billion to the UK economy. Beer drinkers will raise a glass to the Chancellor tonight!
  • This extension of the pub-specific rate relief is also very welcome and continues to recognise the disproportionate rates burden faced by pubs. Moving from RPI increases to CPI two years earlier than planned from April 2018 is really welcome as is in the announcement on three yearly revaluations. It shows the Government is listening to our concerns and this will save pubs £37 million this year alone.
  • The announcement that revaluations will happen more frequently is good news too, as high rates bills for pubs often lag behind the trading realities.”

BII: The British Institute of Innkeeping has also welcomed further support for pubs on business rates. BII Chief Executive Mike Clist said:

  • “We welcome the fact that Government has listened to the call to help pubs in what is a very competitive marketplace.
  • Moving the annual inflation of rateable values from RPI to CPI, continuing the £1,000 rate relief policy for a further year and moving the revaluation of properties to 3 yearly will all help.
  • We do however still believe the rating system needs a complete overhaul and we will continue to lobby for this.
  • No increases in drinks duty will hopefully encourage customers to continue to use our great British pubs.”