UKH welcomes first step on road to rates reform

UKHospitality has welcomed the Government’s call for evidence for business rates reform.

The Government has just published a call for evidence for a fundamental review of business rates, something for which the trade body has consistently and vigorously pushed.

It has also confirmed that the next revaluation of non-domestic property in England, previously scheduled for 1 April 2021, will now take effect on 1 April 2023.

The Government has also said it recognises the need to reform the current duty system to support the pub sector in the longer term and will publish a call for evidence before end September 2020.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls (pictured) said, “Securing a full review of the business rates system has been a priority for UKHospitality and its predecessor trade bodies for years. We identified it as the largest barrier to growth in our sector years ago. We have pushed extremely hard to convince the Government to act on this, so it is great to finally see positive action.

“Kicking back the revaluation by a further year will give businesses some much-needed breathing room and stability. Pushing back should also provide time for reforms to be introduced and a more accurate reflection of property values following this crisis which has clearly had an enormous impact on trade.

“However, with rateable values therefore staying high for longer, the need for an extension of the business rates holiday is more acute. The holiday has been a hugely valuable lifeline for hospitality businesses and we need the Government to extend it for another year to give the sector the extra degree of flexibility it needs to get back on its feet. Even though venues have begun to reopen, the immediate future is still uncertain. Businesses are going to need all the support they can get if they are to survive the winter.'

Nicholls concluded, “The acknowledgement that the current alcohol duty system needs reforming in order to support the sector is also a positive development. UKHospitality has consistently advocated a new, more dynamic duty system which encourages innovation and consumption of alcohol in the safe and supervised environment of a pub, bar or restaurant. It has the potential to boost business.”