MP calls for fairer pub taxes

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert met members of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) at Westminster last week (31 October) to hear why they are calling for fairer tax treatment for the sector.

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Mr Herbert was given a briefing on the business rates paid by the 98 pubs and 7 breweries in the Arundel & South Downs area. 

The impact on pubs following the 2017 business rates revaluation is varied across the country.  While some pubs have seen a reduction in their rates, others have seen a significant increase.  The Government’s £1,000 rate relief for pubs for 2017/18 and has been welcomed, but the sector is calling for more to be done. 

In Arundel & South Downs the average rates bill for 2016/17 was £15,520 per pub.  This average bill was slightly lower for 2017/18, reducing to £14,974, but is expected to rise by 29 per cent by 2021/22.  This local increase is significantly more than overall average figures for England which indicate an average rate rise of 16 per cent by 2022. 

Mr Herbert has also raised concerns that some pubs in his constituency are being hit by very large business rate rises as a result of the revaluation.  The MP has been contacted by a number of landlords to say that they are facing bills which are thousands of pounds higher next year and which they cannot afford to pay. 

The BBPA say that the business rates burden is disproportionate.  Pubs are paying five times more in business rates than other sectors.  The BBPA have calculated this as an overpayment of £500 million and is the reason they are calling for an urgent review.  In the Arundel & South Downs constituency the overpayment is reported to be the equivalent of £12,300 per pub. 

There are 900,000 people who work in the beer and pub industry, of which 46 per cent are young people.  The sector as a whole adds nearly £23 billion to the economy, paying £13 billion in tax. 

Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the BBPA, said: “The positive economic impact of brewing and pubs on the UK economy is clear for all to see, but on a local level the large number of people earning a living from the trade has a huge impact.  We are calling on the Chancellor to recognise the contribution of our sector by reversing his decision to increase beer taxes earlier in the year and taking action on business rates. 

“These figures drive home how important our sector is for a vibrant and thriving local economy, alongside the huge importance of pubs to our local communities." 

Nick Herbert said: "I am very aware of the growing tax burdens faced by many of the pubs in West Sussex, and I found the personal briefing from the BBPA very useful. 

“I am concerned that the business rates revaluation has hit a number of South Downs pubs.  We have already seen too many pubs go from our villages already, and we don’t want to lose more. 

“More than 2,000 people are employed locally in the sector, over 700 of them are aged 16-24.  I agree that more needs to be done to help our local pubs, including a freeze in beer tax, and I support the call to look again at the business rates paid by pubs.”  





   1.   Photograph: Nick Herbert at the BBPA event.

   2.   To read Nick’s news release backing the ‘Keep pubs afloat’ campaign see

   3.   To read more from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) see

   4.   To read the BBPA briefing note prepared for Arundel & South Downs see briefing here.

Michelle TaylorBusiness