BBPA welcomes Scottish budget rates relief & urges Rishi Sunak to do same

The Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) has welcomed the budget delivered by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes to Holyrood this afternoon. The budget includes a three-month 100% relief to business rates, which could be extended if the funds are made available from Westminster.

The SBPA and British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) have now called on the UK Government and Chancellor Rishi Sunak to similarly stand up for the sector by ensuring that a business rates holiday remains in place, the reduction in VAT is extended and includes a cut in alcohol, and a cut in beer duty – which remains amongst the highest in the world.

CEO of the SBPA and BBPA, Emma McClarkin, said, “This is a strong budget by the Finance Secretary and certainly will help support Scotland’s pubs and brewers through these unprecedented times. The business rates support in the form of a three-month cancellation will provide a degree of certainty for our members and help many businesses whilst the pandemic is still ongoing.

“In order to ensure a strong and recovery this needs to be further extended to the full year and it’s welcome that the Finance Secretary made clear that further support will be available dependent on the Chancellors budget in March. Now, the industry has their eyes on ensuring the support for the sector is replicated and boosted by the UK Government.

“We therefore urge the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to extend the Business Rates holiday for pubs and brewers across the rest of the UK. Businesses across the country are facing a cliff edge when the rates holiday ends in March. They need reassurance now, in this third lockdown, that the Government still has their back and is invested in them – as the Scottish Government has done.

“Brewers and Pubs are vital to Scotland’s economy, jobs, and culture. Whilst the support contained within this budget is hugely welcomed, it remains a long back to profitability for these businesses. The UK Government must provide the additional support and certainty needed to ensure business survival until the end of the pandemic.”