Industry bodies make united call for ‘supportive’ Spring Statement

12/03/2018 - 07:00
In a joint letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, key industry and consumer bodies are calling on the government to address three major issues for the sector ahead of the Spring Statement.

Co-written by UKHospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), the letter seeks “decisive action” on business rates reform, hospitality VAT and post-Brexit duty.

This includes:

  • A “comprehensive review of business rates”
  • A “consultation on a possible reduced rate of VAT for hospitality”
  • For the government to “engage with the sector to overhaul the excise duty system to promote the consumption of lower-strength drinks in licensed premises”

Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality chief executive, said: “With cost pressures continuing to squeeze many businesses and the UK’s withdrawal from the EU fast-approaching, the time is right for the government to provide decisive support for hospitality businesses.

“The government has indicated that it will provide the support we want and that it will undertake a review on business rates, but pubs and restaurants are still overpaying £1 billion in year in rates.

“We want to see the Government push ahead with its promised review and begin to fashion a regulatory system that supports hospitality businesses and supports growth.

“With Brexit on the horizon, the government has an opportunity to address sector concerns around VAT and instigate a duty regime that promotes hospitality businesses as well as addressing any concerns it may have regarding unsupervised consumption of higher-strength drinks.

“We hope the Chancellor accepts our offer to engage with the sector and provide pubs and hospitality businesses with the support they need to grow.”

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds added: “I hope the government will consider this united call for a review of actions to help our sector. The business rates burden on pubs is particularly acute, paying 2.8% of all business rates while accounting for less than 1% of rateable turnover.

“British beer is also over-taxed, and while the duty freeze in the Autumn Budget was welcome there is still work to be done to protect a great British manufacturing industry.

“Of every £1 spent in a pub, 34p goes to the taxman. We must take action to reduce the cumulative impact on our pubs which are so vital to their local communities.”

Claiming “pubs need a fair deal on tax to ensure that they remain competitive with off-trade outlet,” national chairman of CAMRA, Colin Valentine, said: “We need to act now to help keep the lid on price increases so that more people can afford to visit their local and enjoy all of the personal, social and community-wide benefits of pub-going."

Calling on “every MP in the land to press the Chancellor and HM Treasury to take the opportunity to work with us to get this right,” Mike Benner, chief executive of SIBA concluded.

Copyright 2017 EatOut Magazine
Dewberry Redpoint Limited is a company Registered in England and Wales No : 03129594 Registered Office:
John Carpenter House, John Carpenter Street, London EC4Y 0AN, UK, VAT registered, number 586 7988 48.

Design & Development by Eton Digital