MP Vince Cable calls for pub business rates cap

11/10/2017 - 07:00
Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, Sir Vince Cable, took to twitter yesterday (10 October) to call for a cap on business rate rises for pubs.

The ex-Business Secretary said that pubs had been "left in the lurch” by the current Conservative Government and that a 12.5% cap on business rates would "protect pubs".

"Pubs form the bedrock of local communities across the country, but many now worry that they will have to close their doors," said the Twickenham MP.

Although Cable's statement was mostly made in regards to smaller pubs, the pressure from rising business rates has been noticed by several pubcos over recent months, with Oakman Inns boss, Peter Borg-Neal, branding the rates “absurd”.

The most recent Business Leaders’ Confidence survey from CGA, showed that 78% of eating and drinking out business felt that they had been hit by increased business rates.

Reacting to Cable’s call, chief executive of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), Kate Nicholls, said that the government "would be wise to listen".

Nicholls said:“Many eating and drinking out venues have been hit hard by huge increases in their business rates bills following the revaluation, with pubs particularly at risk.

“The main focus of much of the ALMR’s lobbying efforts has been dedicated to highlighting this issue and pushing for a complete revamp of the business rates system in the UK.

“A good first step would be for the Chancellor to announce a cap on business rates increases for pubs and the wider eating and drinking out sector including restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

“A cap on business rates increases can provide a sense of stability and clarity for businesses, crucial at this time of political and economic instability, before a thorough rethink of a broken and inefficient rates system that is unfit for purpose.”

Last month, Nicholls called on the Government to switch from using the Retail Price Index (RPI) to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) as its way of measuring business rates.

“The current system linking to RPI, a measure discredited by the ONS itself, needs to be ditched at the earliest opportunity. RPI stands at 3.9% currently, and this could see eating and drinking out businesses facing another massive increase in their business rates bills."

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