BII calls for further investment in pubs ahead of Autumn Statement

11th October 2023 | Jack Oliver

The British Institute for Innkeeping (BII) has written to the Chancellor calling for greater support for pubs ahead of November’s Autumn Statement.

This comes as the organisation reveals that only half of pubs are profitable, according to a survey of its members.

Whilst two-thirds of respondents reported trading at back-to-normal or increased levels over the past year, only 50% of these have made a profit.

The BII said that pubs have seen significant cost increases driven by high inflation as well as “inflated and unfair” energy prices.

In a letter to the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, BII chief executive Steve Alton called for an immediate extension of business rates relief for another year, and a “fairer” and more proportionate level of taxation. This includes lower VAT for pubs and hospitality venues.

The letter said that “investment will be paid back through growth in every community”.

Alton’s frustrations regarding business rates echo the views of a number of leading retailers including Tesco, M&S, and B&Q, who called for a freeze on the business rates multiplier in September.

The BII has also launched the #MyPub campaign, calling on licensees to write to their local MPs and ask for their backing for the continuation of the 75% business rates relief seen in England and Wales, as well as an extension of the same relief for Scottish businesses.

Steve Alton said: “Many long-standing, viable and diversified pub businesses are seeing strong sales simply not translate to profit.  This is holding back their ability to further grow their businesses through investment in their offer and their teams.  The exceptional short-term pressures will abate, and Government must now invest in these essential community businesses to allow them to weather current trading challenges.”


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