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3rd April 2024

Bumper easter weekend comes at vital time for brewers and pubs facing £450 million cost increase in April

Easter weekend bookings in pubs were up 40% according to hospitality technology provider Zonal, while the British Beer and Pub Association estimates pubs served an extra 11m pints between Thursday and Monday.

This Easter success may prove vital for pubs and breweries up and down the country that will now feel the pinch of April’s hiked business rates and above-inflation uptick in the National Living Wage. Those increases will cost pubs and brewers roughly £450 million, at a time when, despite some nascent Q1 growth in the beer and pub sector, the cost of doing business remains damagingly high.

The British Beer and Pub Association is urging the Government to evaluate the compounding effect that these increases have on the cost of doing business and how these can be alleviated, including ways to reduce the overall tax burden faced by the beer and pub sector to turbo-charge the burgeoning growth the beer and pub sector is starting to move towards after four years of incredibly tough trading. A level of growth that would then more than pay off any initial cost for the Treasury.

Ahead of these cost hikes, a poll of BBPA members found 89% of hospitality businesses are concerned about these minimum wage increases, which will cost the sector an additional £425 million, with 60% of those being very concerned. While the large business rates multiplier increasing by 6.7% in April is set to cost pubs an additional £25 million, tighten already thin margins further.

Pubs pay up to 5x more business rates relative to their turnover compared to other equivalent businesses, an over-payment of c. £400 million.  The BBPA is therefore calling for long-term reform to business rates to ensure all businesses pay their fair share, along with fairer energy deals and a reduction in the vast gap between the VAT charged on food in pubs compared to supermarkets. This will level the playing field and unshackle an industry that remains at the heart of high streets and communities across the country, while also providing tremendous social value.

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said:

“The Easter trading figures are even better than expected and provide a great springboard into the Spring and Summer months ahead. These come at a time when the beer and pub sector are having to absorb a raft of new cost increases and while every single pub and brewer across the country is undoubtedly committed to paying their staff a fair wage, the almost half a billion-pound combined cost increases to the National Living Wage bill and business rates risks stunting the green shoots of growth emerging in the beer and pub sector.

“There is, however, a clear solution in this situation, the Government must step up and invest in a sector that adds £26bn to the economy, provides almost 1 million vital jobs, and generates £15 billion for the Treasury, so pubs and brewers can also invest in themselves, and the resulting prosperity will more than pay the Government back on its investment. Unlocking the economic and societal value pubs and brewers bring will provide massive benefits to every local community where they operate, while also combining to create an engine to create the much-needed economic growth that the Government is so keen to nurture.”


For more information or to arrange an interview contact Laurence Gill at / call 020 7627 9199


Anonymous example (for commercial sensitivity reasons) – a Pub Company operating seven pubs of different sizes has calculated the impact of the average National Living Wage increases for one of its larger pubs operations:

  • Payroll will rise by £88.6k for the 24-25 financial year
  • Of this £88.6k, £77.2k is directly due to the increase in the NLW combined with effect of the NLW now applying to 21-year-olds (previously there was a separate rate for 21 and 22-year-olds).
  • Our pension contributions will rise by £4.3k
  • Our national insurance contributions rise by £7.1k
  • To provide some context, £88.k is the equivalent of our entire annual payroll bill for our smallest site – additional cost with no additional sales benefit to off-set

About the British Beer & Pub Association
The BBPA represents UK companies which between them brew over 90% of the beer sold in the UK and own over 20,000 pubs.

Our members include international companies, national and local brewers and pub businesses operating managed and tenanted pubs in cities, towns and villages across the country.

These businesses are at the heart of communities and local economies and include family businesses who have been brewing beer and running pubs for hundreds of years alongside emerging brewers and pub operators.

  • The UK’s beer and pub industry supports close to 940,000 jobs
  • The industry adds £26.2billion to the UK’s economy each year


For more information or to arrange an interview contact Laurence Gill at / call 020 7627 9199

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