Ahead of the Autumn Statement, I wrote a letter to the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, and called on him to provide support for pubs.
I have now received a reply from the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Robert Jenrick, which I have posted below.
Mr Jenrick’s reply details the policies that the Chancellor enacted in his Autumn Statement to help pubs, which I welcome.
The Chancellor has announced that the Government will freeze beer duty, which, given inflation, means that a pint of beer will be 2p cheaper in 2019. It would have been better if the Government had overtly cut beer duty, however, I know that the freeze has been welcomed by many stakeholders in the pub sector.
Even more positively, the Chancellor has announced a business rates discount for retail shops, including pubs. This means that pubs will have their business rates cut by a third, as long as their rateable value is below £51,000. The Government estimates that up to 75% of pubs could benefit from this policy. The Autumn Statement also mentioned wider reforms to business rates, including cutting business rates for small businesses.
These business rates reforms could benefit pubs significantly. An example that the Government gave, was that a Sheffield pub with an estimated rental value of £37,750 would be likely to save £6,178 on business rates next year.
The downside to these reductions in business rates is that they are currently temporary; the business rates discount for retail shops only last for two years, whilst the wider reforms are scheduled to last for five years. If these policies are not extended after their allotted times, then pubs will be hit with sharp increases in business rates when these policies end. This only offers pubs a temporary respite rather than long-term support, which they desperately need.
I can assure you that I will continue to follow this issue closely, and to stand up for the pub sector whenever possible.