FPB calls for government to reduce beer tax to save pubs
Leading business support group, the Forum of Private Business is lobbying the chancellor to reduce beer tax as part of a package to make the leading PubCo’s give their pubs’ tenants a rental holiday whilst they are closed during the coronavirus lock down.
An open letter has been sent to the Treasury and to the business minister encouraging them to support the initiative in an effort to save the pubs and preserve local communities.
Ian Cass, managing director of the Forum said, “Our usual stance has been to resist a reduction in the beer tax as this would predominantly be for the benefit of the PubCo’s and not the pubs themselves. But in these difficult times when most tied pub tenants are still being required by the PubCo’s to pay their rent, notwithstanding that the pubs are closed, any incentive that can be introduced to persuade the PubCo’s to give tenants a rental holiday is worth exploring.”
The request comes on the same day that the pub code adjudicator and the deputy pub code adjudicator called on the five out of six major PubCo’s who are not currently providing rent holidays, to show leadership in the sector by doing so. Between them the outstanding five account for approximately 2500 pubs many of which may not open at the end of the crisis without the relief that the Pub Code Adjudicator is asking for.
The Forum’s proposal cites the British Beer and Pub Association’s claim that just a 1p reduction in the beer tax would save the industry millions of pounds, which the Forum maintains could be allocated to a rental holiday initiative.
“Admiral Taverns have led the way amongst the major PubCos by confirming that they will allow rental holidays, and we are pressing hard for others to follow suit. If this initiative would lead to them to do so we would be strongly behind it,” added Ian Cass.