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Sun 13th Nov 2022 - Hospitality facing £900m business rates hike, threatening ‘devastation’ in the sector
Hospitality facing £900m business rates hike, threatening ‘devastation’ in the sector: Hospitality businesses will face a £3.6bn bill next April if business rates increase in line with inflation and current relief is ended, UKHospitality has warned. The bill would be an increase of £900m, on top of the £2.7bn the sector currently pays in business rates, leaving firms facing collapse, the trade body said. Ahead of Thursday’s (17 November) autumn statement, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls has urged chancellor Jeremy Hunt to extend current business rates relief for the entire sector and ditch any plans to increase rates in line with inflation. She said the sector is already grappling with record inflation, rising energy costs, staffing challenges and reduced consumer appetite, and an increased rates bill of this scale will prove fatal for many businesses. “Hospitality has been hit harder than any other sector by inflation, with many already struggling to pay their bills,” said Nicholls. “To increase business rates bills by a third and hang a £900m millstone around the neck of the sector would cause devastation. Our pubs, bars, restaurants, coffee shops and hotels, to name a few, are so often the pillars of our community, and we would lose countless venues if this went ahead. For those that do survive, they would sadly have no option but to pass those unprecedented costs on to customers. The government clearly understands the pressures the sector is under due to rising costs, and I would urge it not to compound issues by rising bills further. What it needs to do to ensure the sector survives is extend the current relief for the entire sector and ditch any plans to increase rates in line with inflation.” She added: “Our sector has such potential to expand, deliver economic growth and support fantastic careers, but it is simply unable to do so with more and more cost being put on it at a time of national crisis. If the government wants to prove it’s on the side of business and drive investment, it won’t go ahead with a business rates hike that will devastate hospitality businesses. Hospitality is already disproportionately burdened by overpaying in the current system by 300%, so now is the time for the government to support the sector by extending relief and delivering on its manifesto commitment to fundamentally review the unfair and outdated business rates system.”


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