Landlords unite to oppose pub business rates hike

PUBLISHED: 12:00 09 October 2017

St Albans pub landlords sign an open letter to the chancellor of the exchequer. Picture: Danny Loo

St Albans pub landlords sign an open letter to the chancellor of the exchequer. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

The Save St Albans Pubs campaign has presented their petition against business rate increases to Parliament.

Landlords, politicians, and businessmen met at the St Albans Beer and Cider Festival to discuss the changes to business rates.

Campaigner and landlord of The Boot, Sean Hughes, said: “It was absolutely brilliant. We had a number of landlords down, and representatives from St Albans council, and the St Albans Business Improvement District team, who are a cross-section of all the businesses in town.

“We all know we need to pay rates, but there has to be a fair way of charging it.”

Earlier this year, St Albans publicans were alerted to a rates increase in the hundreds of thousands after the government revalued business properties.

St Albans pub landlords sign an open letter to the chancellor of the exchequer. Picture: Danny LooSt Albans pub landlords sign an open letter to the chancellor of the exchequer. Picture: Danny Loo

This led to an outcry from both Save St Albans Pubs and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

CAMRA representative and festival organiser John Bishop said: “Pubs all over England are being hit by spiralling business rates and it is great to see landlords in St Albans leading the charge for a fairer deal for our pubs.

“Without action in November’s Budget to address this problem, many well-loved community pubs could be forced to close their doors for ever - and sending that message to the Chancellor is what our #KeepPubsAfloat campaign is all about.

“More than 500 visitors to the St Albans Beer Festival supported the fight by sending a postcard to their MP, and we call on everyone else who supports pubs to add their voice online at camra.org.uk/keeppubsafloat.“

St Albans pub Ye Olde Fighting Cocks landlord Christo Tofalli signs an open letter to the chancellor of the exchequer. Picture: Danny LooSt Albans pub Ye Olde Fighting Cocks landlord Christo Tofalli signs an open letter to the chancellor of the exchequer. Picture: Danny Loo

While CAMRA’s and the Save St Albans Pub campaigns are separate, both condemn the rates increase which could mean some pubs having to shift an extra 600,000 pints a year.

Sean said: “With pubs the formula being used is so wrong, and it needs to concentrate on profit, rather than being based on turnover.

“Because someone selling a drink for a pound might sell a million drinks, but only make £10,000 and pay £100,000 in tax.”

He believes each different model of pub needs a different formula for rates, be they freehold, tenancy, or leasehold.

St Albans pub landlords sign an open letter to the chancellor of the exchequer. Picture: Danny LooSt Albans pub landlords sign an open letter to the chancellor of the exchequer. Picture: Danny Loo

“It’s a challenge, but the government needs to get a hold of it.”

To find out more, visit www.facebook.com/savestapubs

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