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BBPA slams fee change proposals

By thirsty hack Ignatius Rake

Posted April 11, 2014
booze news

UK plans to change licensing fees could dry bum small pubs.

Home Office proposals to change the way licensing fees are calculated for pubs, bars and nightclubs in England1 "could result in huge new bills for small local pubs", says the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).

Responding to a government consultation that closed yesterday (10/4/14), the BBPA states in a press release that should local authorities charge their fees at the proposed new maximum caps, "pubs in the lowest bands (A and B) could see astonishing rises in annual fees of 957% and 311%, respectively".

Consequently, a pub in Band B, the most typical current band, could see its licence fee skyrocket from £180 ($301) to £740.

Furthermore, the proposals would also incur "steep rises" for other fees, such as those pertaining to Temporary Event Notices (TENs) and minor variations.

The BBPA "does not support" the proposed move away from the current national non-domestic rateable value (NNDR) bands, a system that, it says, "helps smaller venues, such as pubs, to keep their bills down".

The Association would "also prefer fees to continue to be set at a national level".

Meanwhile, "an alternative but still preferable solution" to the new proposals "would be for rateable value fee bandings to remain as at present but with an element of locally-set fees".

This, it says, "could be subject to a cap across each fee band based on inflationary increases since 2005" and would thus "retain proportionality between the fee bandings and ensure that smaller pubs will not see disproportionate fee rises".

"The government's proposals could see massive rises in fees for pubs simply to open their doors," says BBPA CEO Brigid Simmonds.

"While a cap on fees is right in principle, the proposed limits are far too high."

"It might prove tempting for some local councils to hike fees dramatically and the removal of bands would hit smaller pubs very hard."

"Given the huge concerns, I hope the government reconsiders and takes a close look at our alternative proposals."

The BBPA's full submission to the consultation can be downloaded as a PDF here.

See also UK pubs face fee change threat, posted 13/2/14.

Ignatius Rake
is a freelance journalist, geographer and world traveller who has visited more than 70 countries on six continents. In 2013, he represented the UK at the Fourth Annual Smoke's Poutinerie World Poutine Eating Championship in Toronto, coming an abysmal last and getting his arse royally whipped by Rake & Herald reader and Major League Eating speedscarfing supremo Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut. He has been known to like a pint.


1) The Home Office proposals, which can be read in full here, would apply to all on- and off-trade premises licences and other related fees in England. The proposals also cover personal licence fees, which the government had sought to abolish but recently decided to retain under the present system.

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