The Campaign for Real Ale is calling on the Government to stop viable community pubs from being driven out of business by introducing a £5,000 annual reduction on their rocketing business rates.
Reviews of business rates across England are seeing many pubs hit with a massive new financial burden, which in some cases could only be covered by them selling tens of thousands of extra pints of beer every year.
Tapping into the 50,000 beer-lovers heading to the Great British Beer Festival this week, CAMRA is asking festival attendees to back the campaign by calling on their MPs to address the sky-high tax burden on pubs which is contributing to 21 pub closures a week.
The campaign follows new research conducted by YouGov on behalf of CAMRA which found that the public overwhelmingly supports an urgent tax break for pubs. More than two-thirds (69%) of people who expressed an opinion agree with the argument that pubs should receive tax relief as they provide safe, managed places for people to get together and drink responsibly.
While the Government introduced a one-off £1,000 discount scheme for some pubs in the latest Budget, CAMRA says this action does not go far enough to help keep many afloat.
Sean Hughes, landlord of The Boot pub in St Albans, which has stood on its site since the 16th century, is set to see his rates bill soar by 280% over the next five years from £14,000 a year to £52,000. He says: “Our new business rates bill means that we would have to sell an additional 22,000 pints of beer a year just to pay for the increase. I can’t see how we’re going to do that – it leaves us in a very difficult situation. We’ve already had to increase our beer prices by 10p per pint, and expect that to increase to 35p a pint. If our customers can’t afford a pint at the pub they will go elsewhere, which means that our historic pub of 600 years may cease to run as a public house. We urgently need support from the Government to continue trading.”
James Brown who runs three pubs as part of the Brown Ales portfolio agrees, saying: “All of our pubs are multi-CAMRA award winning pubs and are seeing enormous increases to their business rates. The Chesterfield Arms has seen its rateable value rise from £27,000 to £64,000 – an increase in its final business rates bill of 140%. What is the incentive to run a successful business if the additional profits are taken away in rates? The £1,000 reduction is just a drop in the ocean when rates are increased by £20,000 – any publican will tell you that the business rates system is the most unjust cost to successfully run pubs in this country.”
Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s National Chairman says: “Taxes now make up more than a third of the cost of a pub pint. Despite the fact that pubs currently account for 0.5% of turnover of the UK economy, they are still paying 2.8% of the business rates. This is frankly unsustainable, and it is the consumer that will ultimately pay the price – whether it’s when their beloved local closes down or when the price of their pint goes up.
“It’s clear that most of us believe that pubs need our help and recognise the vital role that they play in local communities. From celebrating a special occasion to meeting up with friends after work, pubs are an integral part of many people’s social lives. Business rate relief is urgently needed in order to ensure their continued survival.”
CAMRA is also calling on the Chancellor to freeze beer duty for the rest of the Parliament to help cap the price of beer, keeping more money in consumers’ pockets and helping the pubs and brewing sector to grow.
CAMRA Press Office:
01727 798 452
Notes to Editors
 21 pubs are closing every week across the UK according to a CGA Strategy survey conducted between December 2015 – June 2016
 All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2076 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 25th-26th July 2017. The survey was carried out online.The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
The YouGov survey asked “Earlier this year in the 2017 Budget, it was announced that pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 will receive a discount on their business rates (i.e. the tax on business properties), this is known as “tax relief”. Some people argue that as pubs are a business and all businesses pay tax, pubs shouldn’t be given tax relief. However others argue that because they help local communities by providing safe, managed places for people to get together and drink responsibly, they should be given tax relief. Do you think pubs should, or should not be given tax relief? Of the all UK adults (excluding “don’t know” responses), 69% said that pubs should be given tax relief and 31% said that pubs should not be given tax relief.
The Boot, St Albans
The Boot dates back to 1422 and is situated in the heart of St Albans city centre. It has featured in the last seven editions of the Good Beer Guide and is a regular sponsor of St Albans Beer and Cider Festival. It is currently facing a business rates hike of 280% over the next five years from £14,000 a year to £52,0000. The pub would need to sell an additional 22,000 pints of beer a year just to pay for the increase.
Contact: Sean Hughes – 07833097447 / email@example.com
The Chesterfield Arms, Chesterfield
The Chesterfield Arms is an award-winning pub, having won the Chesterfield CAMRA Pub of the Year award in 2010 and 2012. It has seen its rateable value rise by 140% from £27,000 to £64,000.
Contact: James Brown – 07500224092 / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Crown Inn, Beeston
The Crown Inn is a Grade II listed building and its interior features in CAMRA’s National Inventory. It won CAMRA’s East Midlands Pub of the Year competition in 2012. The pub’s business rates bill more than doubled following the revaluation.
Contact: James Brown – 07500224092 / email@example.com
About the Great British Beer Festival
A paradise for beer lovers, CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival is an event not to be missed with beers to suit all tastes and preferences. Make sure to work up a thirst before you arrive – this year the festival will be expanding its drinks offering of over 900 real ales and other craft beer, ciders and international beers to include for the first time fine English wine from some of the best wine producers in the country. Upon arrival you will have the chance to sample some fantastic London street food and listen to live bands in between the guzzling. If you are looking for some light entertainment, tutored beer tasting will allow you to not only sample a selection of beers but also learn how to best taste, appreciate and rate beers.
Beer lovers no longer need to wait 12 months for their next great beer festival – CAMRA will be introducing the Great British Beer Festival Winter shortly!
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is a not-for-profit consumer group with over 188,000 members that has been operating since 1971. Our vision is to have quality real ale and thriving pubs in every community.