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Business rates bills worth a collective total in the region of £800 million could soon see thousands of pubs closing across the UK.
That’s the view of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), which is fearful of the financial prospects for a huge number of its members and establishments throughout the country.
There has been a relief of business rates put in place for pubs this year by government but the industry’s trade body insists that extending that for a further year could represent absolutely critical support for pub operators nationwide.
Reflecting on the government’s latest Business Rates Review documents, the BBPA has concluded that pubs could be set to receive a total bill worth £800 million in 2021 at a rate of around £25,000 per pub.
The association’s view, after an extremely testing year for the hospitality sector in 2020, is that business rates bills might well represent the “last straw for thousands of pubs”.
The BBPA is therefore calling on relevant policymakers to find ways of providing continued financial support to pubs which otherwise will likely be forced out of business.“Given that all these pubs made it through the lockdown - over 15 weeks without being able to open their doors - and have remained viable businesses despite social distancing and significantly lower footfall, it would be devastating for them to fall at the final hurdle in the post-lockdown recovery,” said the BBPA’s chief executive Emma McClarkin in a statement.
“It would mean much of the government’s vital support for the sector through lockdown would have been wasted,” she added.
“This is why we are asking the government to extend the relief and help protect our great British pubs and the hundreds of thousands of jobs they support.”
Ms McClarikin went on to insist that “investing in our pubs now” would give them a chance to “survive and thrive” into 2021 in a way that means they can potentially help lead the UK’s recovery from what has been such a terrible year economically for the country.
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