Brewers welcome business rates offer, but want more

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Scottish government has offered business rates relief until March this year
The Scottish government has offered business rates relief until March this year

Related tags: Drinks

Three months of 100% business rates relief offered in the Scottish government’s budget has been welcomed by the pub and brewing industries, but calls have been made to extend support to all the UK.

Delivered by Scottish finance secretary Kate Forbes to Holyrood, the budget posited that relief could be extended if funds were made available from Westminster.

The Scottish Beer and Pub Association  (SBPA) and British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) have now called on the UK Government and Chancellor Rishi Sunak to similarly stand up for the sector. They want the Government to ensure that the current business rates holiday remains in place, the reduction in VAT is extended and includes a cut in alcohol, and a cut in beer duty.

Supporting Scotland’s brewers

Chief executive of the SBPA and BBPA Emma McClarkin said the budget would help support Scotland’s brewers and pubs and create a degree of certainty for the group’s members throughout the ongoing pandemic.

“In order to ensure a strong and recovery this needs to be further  extended to the full year and it’s welcome that the Finance Secretary made clear that further support will be available dependent on the Chancellor’s budget in March,”​ she added.

“Now, the industry has their eyes on ensuring the support for the sector is replicated and boosted by the UK Government.”

McClarkin urged Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to extend the business rates holiday for businesses across the rest of the UK when the current relaxation of rates ends in March.

‘Reassurance is needed now’

“They need reassurance now, in this third lockdown, that the Government still has their back and is invested in them – as the Scottish Government has done,”​ she continued.

“Brewers and Pubs are vital to Scotland’s economy, jobs, and culture. Whilst the support contained within this budget is hugely welcomed, it remains a long back to profitability for these businesses. The UK Government must provide the additional support and certainty needed to ensure business survival until the end of the pandemic.” 

Meanwhile, food manufacturers supplying the hospitality and healthcare markets have called for urgent Government support to rescue them from ‘a financial cliff edge’.

Related topics: Drinks, Operations

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