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Pub trade welcomes business rate relief

The UK pub trade has welcomed proposals put forward by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his autumn statement to cut business rates for small businesses, which will benefit 64% of pubs.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne

George Osborne delivered his autumn statement this afternoon outlining plans to double small business rate relief for another year and cap the inflation-linked increase in business rates to 2%.

Last year a £!,000 discount on business rates to help high street shops, pubs and cafés. That will be increased by £500 to £1,500 next year.

A full review of the structure of business rates in the UK is also planned.

Promises were also made to abolish National Insurance payments for business taking on apprenticeships with Osborne noting: “When a business is giving a young person a chance in life we’re going to support them not tax them.”

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BPPA), said she was pleased that the government was giving “increasing attention” to business rates which she said was an “important issue” for pubs.

“I am very pleased to see that small business rate relief has been extended for a further year today. The increase in the retail relief to £1,500 is more good news, that will benefit 64% pubs. Overall, over 70% of pubs will receive retail relief,” she said.

“For pubs, the current Business Rates regime makes up 10% of costs. As well as getting bills down, we need to make it easier for pubs to appeal their rates bills and make the system more responsive to changing business conditions.”

She added: “I also welcome the removal of National Insurance payments for apprenticeships for those under 25. The pub industry can create many jobs and careers for young people quickly, with around 45% of the country’s 600,000 pub employees under 25. Making it easier to create more apprenticeships is good news.”

Tom Stainer, head of communications at CAMRA, echoed Simmonds’ sentiments calling the Chancellor’s extension of small business rate relief, and an additional £500 business rates reduction for most pubs in England “great news for pub goers”.

“Business rates are a significant burden on pubs and so these announcements will help keep pubs open, boost investment and ensure consumers continue to benefit from great pubs. The review of Business Rates also provides an opportunity to address the disproportionate tax burden on pub beer sales compared to supermarket beer sales.”

Earlier this year CAMRA launched its Pubs Matter campaign after it revealed UK pubs were currently closing at a rate of 31 per week.

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