EU Rules Prevent Government Aid Getting To 1 in 4 Pubs
Chancellor Philip Hammond vowed to help and try save the high street pub at his Spring Budget last year with £25 million to fund a £1,000 pub discount for 90% of pubs. The pledge was also extended for a further year.
But, according to real estate advisor, Altus Group, when the Chancellor announced the emergency measures there were 28,086 pubs in England with a rates bill and not in receipt of full small business rates relief exempting them from rates altogether. 24,375 had a Rateable Value less than £100,000 and were eligible to Hammond’s £1,000 discount on business rates. But, during the first year of the discount during 2017/18, just 17,707 pubs received the discount.
EU rules restrict state aid to €200,000 per business over three years meaning that the pubs that are part of a chain were the most likely to have missed out.
The news comes as 33 pubs a week during the first 6 months of this financial year, have either been demolished or converted into other types of use such as homes and offices according to an analysis of official Government data by Altus Group up from 25 a week during the entire previous year.
At the revaluation of non domestic properties for business rates in England and Wales last year, which came into effect on 1st April 2017, there were a total of 43,066 pubs in England and Wales but that number fall 3% to 41,774 on 1st April 2018. Altus Group said the number has fallen a further 2% to 40,899 at the end of September.
2017/18 – 1,292
2018/19 (first 6 months) – 875
Pubs which have now “disappeared” from the local Rating List all together have called time. Their removal, for property tax valuations, means that they have been either been demolished or converted into other types of use.
David Shuttleworth, Vice President at Altus Group, is urging the Chancellor to help protect pubs further at his Autumn Budget on 29th October, “This month’s Budget is a great opportunity for the Chancellor to back business given the uncertain times that we face through Brexit, particularly, for those in the hospitality.
“An unprecedented stimulus of freezing inflationary rate rises in April 2019 would benefit not only all pubs, but all businesses across the hospitality sector, whilst extending the pub discount by 50% to £1,500 would be a minimal cost funded largely by the under spend on the discount during the previous 2 years.”