Plunkett Foundation backs CAMRA call for business rates relief on pubs

Campaigners warn a hike in rates will add to pressure on a pub sector which is seeing an estimated 29 closures a week

Plunkett Foundation has backed a call for lower business rates for Britain’s struggling pub sector.

CAMRA – The Campaign for Real Ale – wants an annual £5,000 reduction in business rates for every pub in England.

This follows a revaluation of business rates, which CAMRA says will present pubs with “a massive new financial burden, which in some cases could only be covered by them selling tens of thousands of extra pints of beer every year”.

CAMRA chairman Colin Valentine said: “Taxes now make up more than a third of the cost of a pub pint. Despite the fact that pubs currently account for 0.5% of the turnover of the UK economy, they are still paying 2.8% of the business rates. This is frankly unsustainable, and it is the consumer that will ultimately pay the price – whether it’s when their beloved local closes down or when the price of their pint goes up.”

The campaign group says after nearly 30,000 pubs have closed since the early 1970s, and the new business rate hike will add to pressures brought by the high price of a pint and the 2008 recession.

Plunkett Foundation, which supports rural community businesses – and specifically backs the co-op pub sector through its More Than a Pub programme – backed the call.

Nicole Hamilton, head of frontline at Plunkett, said: “Although incredibly rewarding, running a co-operative pub is not an easy task and presents a range of challenges, including increasing day to day running costs.

“Plunkett Foundation supports CAMRA’s call to reduce the annual business rates to help support the long-term sustainability of co-operative pubs.

“A reduction in business rates will support co-operative pubs to continue to invest significant time and resource into offering the wider community services that support are typical of the co-operative pub model.”

With an estimated 29 pubs closing every week, Plunkett supports community ownership as a way of preserving and sustaining the businesses as community assets.

It says there are currently 53 co-operative pubs open and trading across the UK, with another 156 in the pipeline.

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