What does Autumn Budget 2018 mean for hospitality?

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

What does Autumn Budget 2018 mean for hospitality?

Related tags: Business rates, Beer, Alcoholic beverage, Wine

The Autumn Budget drew a mixed reaction from the hospitality industry, with Chancellor Philip Hammond offering an olive branch to the high street, but facing criticism from winemakers.

Business rates

Retailers and restaurants with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will have their business rates bills cut by a third over the next two years.

The Chancellor estimates this will be a saving of up to £8,000 for 90% of restaurants, cafes and shops.

He also sought to level the playing field between the high street and online retailers, introducing a digital services levy that will see tech giants taxed 2% on the money they make in the UK.

UKHospitality praised the “positive” moves but said they needed to be a springboard for further business rates reform.

“If the Government is serious about updating the rates system then we still need to see a thorough, root and branch reform of the whole system to ensure it is fair and fit for purpose in the 21st​ Century,” said UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls.

Drinks tax

Duty on beer, cider and spirits was frozen, which the Chancellor said would keep costs down “for patrons of the British pub”.

He said this would mean a saving of 2p on a pint of beer, 1p on a pint of cider and 30p on a bottle of Scotch or gin.

However wine duty will rise in line with inflation and white ciders will be taxed at a higher rate.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) said this will mean the price of a bottle of wine will go up by 7p, sparkling wine 9p and an average priced bottle of fortified wine 9p. On top of this VAT will add a further 20% to the cost.

The WSTA said Hammond had “closed himself off to the concerns of our world leading industry and is wildly out of touch with British consumers”.

Living Wage

The National Living Wage (NLW), the obligatory minimum amount paid to workers aged 25 and over, will rise 38p to £8.21 per hour next April. This amounts to an annual increase of around £690 for a full-time worker.

“Latte Levy” cools

There will be no tax on disposable coffee cups, despite MPs calling for a 25p tax on cups and an outright ban by 2023.

Hammond said he was not convinced an isolated levy would encourage people to shift from throwaway to reusable cups.

Apprenticeship Levy

The amount paid by smaller businesses to the apprenticeship levy has been halved to 5%. The Chancellor also extended the minimum qualifying period for entrepreneurs relief from 12 months to two years.

What was missing?

There was still no cut in tourism VAT, despite a long-running campaign from the industry.

The Government said the issue of VAT in Northern Ireland would remain “under review” but no changes would be made for legal reasons until the UK has left the EU.

Northern Ireland is subject to the UK’s 20% tourism VAT rate, which campaigners argue puts it at a disadvantage compared to the Republic of Irelands’ 13.5% rate.

Related topics: Legislation

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