Budget 2017: St Albans landlords "disappointed" by lack of action on business rates
PUBLISHED: 14:59 22 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:56 23 November 2017
St Albans landlords say they are "disappointed" by announcements regarding business rates in the Budget.
The Save St Albans Pubs group has been campaigning against an increase in business rates in the tens of thousands for some city pubs.
This afternoon it was revealed the Treasury would only be extending a discount on business rates which will not help St Albans inns.
The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, told MPs today: “To support the thousands of small pubs that are at the heart of so many of our communities we’ll extend the £1,000 discount for pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 for one more year to March 2019.
“I have heard the concerns about the five yearly revaluation system. Shorter revaluation periods will reduce the size of changes in valuations.
“I can announce today after the next revaluation, future revaluations will take place every three years.
“This Conservative government is listening to our small businesses.”
However the discount is unlikely to help St Albans pubs, many of whom occupy properties which are valued at above £100,000.
The Save St Albans Pubs groups have also been campaigning for a cap on business rate increases for pubs, which was also not in the Budget.
Campaigner and landlord of The Boot Sean Hughes said: “We are pleased the government has considered pubs in the Budget. “They have recognised pubs are a business above others, as they are a community asset.
“But the £1,000 discount is a sticking plaster until the next Budget.”
He welcomed the shortening of the period between revaluations from five years to three.
Revaluation is where the business rates for each business property are calculated.
The rates for pubs are calculated by turnover rather than the size of the property.
Mr Hughes said: “It’s really good because it means pubs can better plan their finances.
“I still think the business rates system is fundamentally flawed and needs to be completely redone.”
Beer duty will be frozen on the majority of beer, ciders, wines, and spirits.
It will only be increased on low quality, high strength drinks.
“I’m pleased beer duty has been frozen”, Mr Hughes said, though he highlighted the duty would increase with inflation.
“Pubs really need help and support. It’s disappointing, because we were expecting more.”
The Save St Albans Pubs campaign will continue, he said.
There will also be £400m spent on the infrastructure for charging electric cars.
This is in addition to £40m for research into charging and £100m for people to buy electric cars.
Chair of St Albans council’s environment committee Anthony Rowlands, who has urged the council to deter vehicle idling and plan for Clean Air Zones, said: “The vast majority of people want improving air quality to be one of the council’s top priorities.
“Electric cars are the future and part of the solution to the air quality crisis.
“This money for providing the essential infrastructure is a start. We need our council to be on the front foot in making bids to government not lagging behind.”
Among the other announcements in the Budget was £44b for housing.
Earlier this year it was revealed St Albans council were spending around £30,000 a year on temporary accommodation for people waiting for housing.
The £44b will also include £2.7b for the Housing Infrastructure Fund, which is used by councils to build infrastructure to support housing projects.
To read the Chancellor’s speech visit https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/autumn-budget-2017-philip-hammonds-speech