CAMRA urges gov to make business rates fairer to safeguard community pubs

Consumer group the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is calling on the Government to radically reform the Business Rates system in England to make it fairer for local pubs.

With the beer and pubs industry still rebuilding from COVID-19, fundamental changes to the Business Rates system are needed if pubs are to survive and thrive at the heart of community life.

That’s the message from CAMRA, which represents pub-goers across the country.

As well as calls to make sure online businesses pay their fair share, the Campaign wants ministers to make sure that the Business Rates system better recognises the role of local pubs as community hubs.

This could involve changes to the system that better reflect a pub’s profits - rather than just their overall turnover – and ending the current system whereby licensees who invest in their pub are then penalised with higher bills.

CAMRA is also urging the Scottish and Welsh Governments for similar changes to their business rates system, as well as asking all parties in Northern Ireland to commit to reviewing NI’s business rates system after May’s Assembly elections.

The call echoes CAMRA’s submission into an Inquiry on the effect of Business Rates on the beer and pubs industry, which has been held by a cross-party group of MPs on the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group.

Commenting, CAMRA Chairman Nik Antona said, “Local pubs are at the heart of communities up and down the country and play a vital role in bringing people together and tackling loneliness and social isolation. As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, our locals are needed more than ever before.

“But even before the pandemic pubs were hard hit by the huge and unfair burden of business rates which unfairly penalise pubs more than other types of business.

“With publicans facing huge increases in the cost of goods, energy and with rising staffing costs, it is absolutely vital that the Government urgently commits to changing the current business rates system to better support pubs – or else we could risk losing even more of our beloved locals for good.”