Nov 22, 2023
Many hospitality operators breathed a sigh of relief on 22nd November, as Jeremy Hunt confirmed that the 75% business rates relief will be extended until 2025. The chancellor also froze the small business multiplier, which will affect some operators, but the standard multiplier – where a business’s rateable value is £51,000 or more – will rise with inflation.
In an immediate reaction on social media, UKHospitality chief executive officer Kate Nicholls pointed out that “many small businesses operate from larger standard rated premises, particularly hospitality”.
"The standard multiplier rising by 6.4% will see businesses representing almost two-thirds of the sector’s trade still facing a £150m rates hike," she added in a statement. "This will only put more pressure on consumer prices and inflation, at a time when businesses are still grappling with high costs of energy, food, drink and wages."
The government has said that its business rates support package is worth £4.3bn over the next five years, including a rollover of 75% retail, hospitality and leisure relief for 230,000 properties and a freeze to the small business multiplier, which its says will protect around 90% of ratepayers for a fourth consecutive year.
Industry commentators have pointed out that this doesn't address the business rates burden in the long-term and that other UK governments also need to act on the issue.
"The chancellor admitted that temporary measures like this couldn’t go on forever, so it is vital that the government urgently reforms the grossly unfair business rates system which penalises pubs and puts their future at risk," said Campaign for Real Ale chairman Nik Antona.
The confirmation that the national living wage will increase to £11.44 in April next year, rising from its current level of £10.42, triggered another hurdle the industry will now have to conquer.
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