The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) and the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) have called on the Chancellor for further support ahead of the Spring Statement in March.
The pressure from soaring inflation and ever rising costs across their businesses over the past year has seen pubs forced to make major changes to their trading, further damaging their vital recovery, with 60% reducing opening times and 1 in 3 reducing opening days to mitigate the significant rise in energy particularly. Fair, modernised tax rates and a focus on skills and training are needed to ensure pubs and breweries can thrive in every single part of the country.
Steve Alton BII CEO commented: “It is vital that our pubs are recognised as the essential businesses that they are, at the heart of their communities, providing not just tangible social value, but also skilled and flexible local employment. We offer employment opportunities that are open to all with the ability to deliver essential business skills, to build skilled jobs and careers, in our sector and beyond. They need and deserve support and investment, and without it we will see widespread business failure on a huge scale.
“We are calling on the Chancellor to provide that support with a sector specific reduction in VAT and a long term business rate reform through a reduction in the rates multiplier for our sector, recognising our unique social value in every community. We are also asking for Government to deliver fair and reasonable energy costs for pubs and an ability to re-contract poor and unfair energy deals secured in 2022.”
Calling on the Chancellor to take action at the Spring Budget, and deliver a plan for sustainable growth for businesses, the BBPA has outlined the following measures to support the industry:
- Long-term changes to beer duty rates including:
- No increase in the headline rate of beer duty this year reducing the damaging impact of record inflation
- A significant increase in the discount for draft beer in pubs and implementation of the previously announced reduced rate for lower-strength beers from 1 August 2023 to support public health objectives
- A reformed business rates system that commits to saving high streets and community assets such as pubs from decimation in the coming years
- Implementation of training, development and in-work incentives to contribute to resolving the industry’s recruitment challenge
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the BBPA said: “Our country’s pubs and brewers find themselves in an extreme position; they have been operating under extraordinary conditions for close to three years now and many are running out of road.
“Our pubs and breweries need a break. We need fair and modern tax rates to enable growth rather than putting them at a disadvantage to digital businesses, and skills and development incentives that work for real people and innovative businesses. Given the chance, our pubs and brewers can continue to support jobs and communities up and down the country by investing in people and places.
“The Spring Budget is an opportunity for this Government to show it understands just how much pubs and breweries mean to communities in every single part of the UK.