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Business Rates Revaluation: Pubs

Volume 622: debated on Monday 27 February 2017

14. What assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the recent business rate revaluation on the viability of pubs. (908933)

Rateable values are, of course, set independently of Ministers. The approach to the valuation of pubs has been agreed with all five bodies representing the pub sector, including the British Beer & Pub Association and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers.

Twenty-nine pubs are closing every week, and the industry estimates that it will need to increase prices by 30p per pint to deal with the £421 million rates increase after the revaluation. All small businesses—many of them in my constituency—are in the firing line. Given the public outcry from local businesses, local authorities and even his own Back Benchers, does the Minister agree with Labour that there should be a full review of the operation of business rates?

Pubs and pub-restaurants in Yorkshire and the Humber will see a 4% cut in their rates overall, and many will also benefit from the doubling of small business rate relief. However, as I said in response to an earlier question, the Secretary of State and the Chancellor are continuing to look closely at what further support can be made available to those most affected by rises.

Pubs appear to be the net losers from the revaluation in my constituency. The Government have done an awful lot to protect pubs in recent years. Is this not another example of the need to get a grip on the Valuation Office Agency? It seems to be defying what the Government are trying to do by carrying out rate revaluations which are driving important companies that we value out of business.

As I said a moment ago, the guide for agreeing valuations—I have it in my hand—was agreed with all five groups representing pubs. The picture will vary across the country, with many pubs seeing a reduction in their rates. As I have said, however, we remain committed to trying to help further those on whom the impact has been heaviest.