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BII welcomes support measures for pub operators in Budget

The BII is encouraged that the Chancellor has yet again recognised the importance of pubs and the communities that they support in today’s budget.

The announcement that business rates for 2022/23 are to be reduced by 50% for hospitality businesses is hugely welcomed.

The BII has consistently asked for 3 key support measures for our nations’ pubs; full reform of the business rates system as well as a further reduction to support pubs in the short term; a more permanent reduction in VAT for our sector, to reflect the challenging trading conditions over the last 18 months, and a reduction in taxes for draught products served in pubs.

The trade body equally welcomes the immediate cancellation of the duty increase on alcohol, and the 5% reduction in duty on draught products served in our pubs and will continue to work closely with Government on the detail of how this will be delivered.

These measures will in part allow our fragile pub operators to plan for the future of their businesses more effectively, however the full recovery of our nations’ pubs will take years and they will need long term support to ensure that they can profitably trade, enabling them to contribute to the wider recovery of the economy and provide vital local employment and career opportunities.

With the average pub having £51k of debt built up over the course of the pandemic, and rising costs in all key areas of their businesses, unless they are able to trade fully, they will continue to be loss making. Pubs were viable businesses, in a growing sector before the pandemic, and as vital community hubs, the Government needs to do all it can to ensure they can survive the next few critical months.

Steven Alton, BII CEO, (pictured), commented, “We are encouraged that the Chancellor has yet again referenced the importance of pubs in their communities and specifically as safe spaces for people to enjoy alcohol responsibly. This has been reflected in the business rate reduction for next year and the specific cut in duty for draught products served in our pubs.

“Our members have consistently shown throughout this crisis, their commitment to their local communities, and their ability to keep customers and staff safe. Whilst the measures announced are positive steps, pubs continue to face huge challenges across all areas of their business, in staffing, supply chain, deliveries and debt.

'Trading for their businesses remains difficult amidst the speculation in the media around Plan B, which continues to affect consumer confidence, at a time where they need to be trading at much higher levels than in 2019, just to break even.

“Ongoing support will be needed both in the form of a fundamental reform of business rates to rebalance this unfair burden on our pub businesses with the online economy, and a long term reduced VAT rate to support our members’ recovery over the coming years. This investment in our nations’ pubs will ensure that they can play their full part in our collective economic recovery.

“We will continue to work closely with Government ensuring that we do all we can to safeguard the future of our nations’ pubs at the heart of our communities.”