Pubs are important community hubs in York, and across the UK they provide 850,000 jobs. We must try to ensure that pubs continue to play their important role in British life.
Before the Spring Budget, a number of organisations joined CAMRA in calling for support for pubs facing significant increases in their business rates due to the revaluation which comes into force in April. I supported this call as I know the detrimental impact that this is having on pubs.
I believe that the Government's business rates revaluation leaves many businesses at risk of closing due to large rate increases and this could have a significant impact on the pub industry. Recent reports, for example, state that the revaluation could cost pubs £421 million over the next five years and add 30p to the cost of a pint of beer. I note that business rates are an issue that unites all voices in the sector and one of the potential barriers we need to focus on if we are to ensure a thriving pub industry.
Following the pressure from Labour, a new temporary £1,000 discount on business rates bills for all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 was announced. I know CAMRA has welcomed this relief and has called for it to be made permanent and increased further in future Budgets.
I am working with local businesses to identify an alternative and fairer mechanism for revenue collection and will continue to support our local community pubs.