Restaurants and pubs are missing out on £300m rates relief fund, says ALMR

By Stefan Chomka contact

- Last updated on GMT

Restaurants and pubs are missing out on £300m rates relief fund, says ALMR

Related tags: Finance

Restaurants and pubs are missing out on millions of pounds worth of promised business rates relief, says the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR).

The trade body has accused local authorities of “sitting on money that has been earmarked for hard working and very hard-pressed businesses” and is calling for a reform of the system.

In a sample of 25 local authorities across England - making up 20% of the total funding announced - 22 had yet to develop a scheme to distribute discretionary relief worth £31m, according to new research by ALMR.

The trade body says it has also found no evidence of any councils issuing the £1,000 pub-specific relief, worth potentially £25m to the sector. 

Earlier this year, restaurants were urged to apply for funding through their local authority.

Speaking in the House of Commons in April the communities secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “It’s going ahead, exactly as planned. Councils are free to start using the scheme and helping local businesses.”

The promised package of support announced at the Spring Budget, including £1,000 in relief for pubs with a rateable value of £100,000 or below and a £300m discretionary fund for local authorities, has not been received by hard-pressed businesses, says the ALMR.

“The fact that this relief has been made available to local authorities and is still not getting through to where it is most needed, proves we need immediate and wholesale reform of a broken system,” says ALMR chief xecutive Kate Nicholls.

“Pubs and restaurants are in urgent need of financial assistance and have already seen some closures across London due in part to spiralling business rates bills and these delays risk others suffering the same fate."

The body also cites recent consumer research by CAMRA that shows that the majority of customers agree that eating and drinking out venues need support. “Local authorities risk the closure of vital social and economic hubs if they do not act immediately,” says Nicholls.

Related topics: Business


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