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Gloucestershire Business News

Business rates bill could be "last straw for thousands of pubs"

Thousands of pubs could be forced to close for good if they are hit by an £800million business rates bill.

The warning comes from the British Beer & Pub Association which says the bill - an average of £25,000 per pub - will be the last straw for many.

A Business Rates Review launched by the Government earlier this year is due to finish its first stage this week and the BBPA said the £800million bill would be faced if the pub sector specific relief ends as planned in March.

The BBPA said up to a third of the UK's pubs are struggling break even after lockdown and would be unable to pay the bill.

And it is urging the Government to extend the relief for at least another review to save pubs, jobs and secure future tax revenue.

Chief executive Emma McClarkin said: "Ending the Business Rates relief for pubs and handing them a bill of £800 million - an average of £25,000 per rate paying pub - could be the last straw for thousands of pubs.

"Given that all these pubs made it through the lockdown - over 15 weeks without being able to open their doors - and have remained viable businesses despite social distancing and significantly lower footfall, it would be devastating for them to fall at the final hurdle in the post-lockdown recovery.

"It would mean much of the Government's vital support for the sector through lockdown would have been wasted."

She continued: "This is why we are asking the Government to extend the relief and help protect our great British pubs and the hundreds of thousands of jobs they support.

"Investing in our pubs now will enable them to survive and thrive into 2021 and beyond, help lead the economic recovery and generate a larger tax revenue for the Government in the future."

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