With today’s Retail Price Index (RPI) figures showing an inflation figure of 2.3 per cent, the average pub will face a £350 hike in business rates bills to £15,000 in April 2015.
The BBPA said this would put far too much pressure on small, family owned businesses, for which rates can account for up to 10 per cent of total operating costs.
The organisation, which is campaigning for the ‘wholesale reform’ of the business rates system, called on the government to freeze the business rates multiplier in December’s Autumn statement, as well as extending small business rate relief to the end of the valuation period (2016-17).
It also asked the government to work with local authorities to move to standard billing to improve the relief application process, and to deliver urgent reforms to the administration and appeals process.
“Business rates are placing unsustainable pressures on pubs, which is affecting jobs and investment, as well as damaging our high streets and villages,” said BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds.
“We have seen a lot of positive action from the Government in the past year, such as the existing cap on the rates multiplier, the application of retail relief, and the extension of Small Business Rate Relief. But the burden remains high and more needs to be done.”
Business rates reform
Last month, 100 UK companies, including pub and restaurant groups, the BBPA and the ALMR, signed an open letter published in the Daily Telegraph warning that business rates are a ‘critical problem’ in the UK and calling for ‘fundamental reform’ of the business rates system.
Business rates currently earn the Treasury around £25bn in revenue each year but opponents argue that they stifle investment and are putting a huge economic burden on businesses across the country.
In last year’s Autumn statement Chancellor George Osborne capped business rate increases at 2 per cent and extended the small business rate relief scheme, although he ignored calls for an overhaul of the system.