The Spring Budget announced by the Conservative Government today included a £1,000 discount for public houses who are facing rapid rates increases. However, with some pubs in Lewes forcasted with a 200% rates rise (in excess of £40,000) this discount may not save our community pubs.
Lewes is renowned for it's small businesses and with thirteen pubs and a lively community based night life in the town, the pubs are well regarded as hubs in our community.
However, changes to measures of business rates on public houses are indicating huge rises in taxes on these pubs people hold so dear.
Kelly-Marie Blundell, Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate who has taken over from Norman Baker, has been meeting with local pub landlords to discuss the huge increase in rates;
“Pubs are a community lifeline, and none so much as those in Lewes.
“However, massive increases in rates, in some cases up to 200%, based on fair maintainable trade, could see some of our most loved pubs put out of business.
“The Conservatives knew this hike was coming and promised support for small businesses and pubs in the budget, but a discount of £1,000 will make little impact on rates increases of over £40,000.”
Tony Leonard, landlord of The Snowdrop on South Street in Lewes commented;
“We had already realised that plans to soften the transition would really just prolong the agony for pubs like ours.
“There is nothing on the horizon to suggest that margins are going to grow massively in the near future so anything short of a total overhaul will end in carnage for our pubs.”
"Our current valuation is £40,000 and our rate bill is £19,800. Our new valuation is a 105% increase to £82,250 and we calculate our rate bill will be £40,713.75 minus the £1,000 discount granted by the Chancellor.
“This discount will make absolutely no difference to pubs like ours and shows a complete lack of understanding for small business.
“This hike is massive slap in the face to local pubs and a disaster for the communities we serve and the £1,000 discount is a pathetic joke." ”
“This move could destroy the towns and villages of Lewes, with worries across not just pubs but our treasured small businesses and independent shops as well.
“We must take action to stop our independent traders closing down."