Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) has commented on the three manifestos released this week from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour.
The Conservative Manifesto
Following the release of the Conservative Manifesto, Colin Valentine, CAMRA's National Chairman said, 'CAMRA welcomes the Conservatives' recognition that the business rates system is harming small businesses. Thousands of community pubs are struggling under this burden, with pubs paying 2.8% of all business rates but accounting for only 0.5% of total business turnover.
'Urgent action is needed and we would like to see the promised review of the business rates system include a permanent rate relief for pubs of £5,000 per year. The commitment not to increase VAT will also be a welcome announcement for pubs currently facing a high tax burden.
'We also welcome the commitment that undertakings made during takeovers or mergers will be considered legally binding in the future. It's critically important that when takeovers happen companies have a legal obligation to stick to their promises and public statements in order to ensure that consumers are not misled.
'We would urge Conservative candidates who are serious about supporting Britain’s pubgoers and beer drinkers to join the other 245 candidates from across all parties who have already pledged support for CAMRA’s #pledgeforpubs.”
The Liberal Democrat Manifesto
On the Liberal Democrat Manifesto, Valentine commented, 'CAMRA warmly welcomes the Liberal Democrats' recognition of the role pubs play as part of thriving rural communities. With nine rural pubs closing their doors for good each week, action is needed to support them. Good public transport links - another policy commitment - has the potential to contribute to the sustainability of our rural pubs.
'However, it's not just rural pubs that are in urgent need of Government support. Thousands of community pubs - vital small businesses contributing to their local economies - are struggling under the burden of excessive business rates. Pubs pay 2.8% of all business rates but account for only 0.5% of total business turnover. We are therefore pleased that the Liberal Democrats are promising to act to reduce the business rates burden on small firms. CAMRA would like to see pubs granted a permanent business rates relief of £5,000 per year.
'We would urge Liberal Democrat candidates who are serious about supporting Britain’s pubgoers and beer drinkers to join the other 245 candidates from across all parties who have already pledged support for CAMRA’s #pledgeforpubs.”
The Labour Manifesto
Finally, on the Labour Manifesto Valentine stated, 'It's great to see Labour’s manifesto recognise the crucial role pubs play in local community life. With 21 closing every week, the national review of pubs they propose could grant many a much-needed lifeline – but to have real effect it must include action to relieve the tax burden on pubs and a commitment to keep the behaviour of large pub companies under active review.
'We also strongly welcome the proposed review of business rates. Tackling the unacceptable burden on pubs - which pay 2.8% of all business rates but account for only 0.5% of total business turnover – is long overdue. CAMRA would like to see pubs granted a permanent business rates relief of £5,000 per year.
'We would urge Labour candidates who are serious about supporting Britain’s pubgoers and beer drinkers to sign up to CAMRA’s #pledgeforpubs. 216 candidates already have.
'We also look forward to seeing details of how other parties respond to the challenge of protecting and championing the UK’s beer and pubs sector over the next five years.”