Restaurants will overpay business rates by £10 billion if ministers don’t intervene

The ALMR has warned that without government action to overhaul business taxation, the hospitality sector will overpay business rates by £10 billion by 2025.

In its submission to the government’s consultation on corporate tax and the digital economy the ALMR – which counts JD Wetherspoon, Casual Dining Group and Carluccio’s among its members – has called for a radical rethink of business taxation and the establishment of a system that is more equitable and does not unreasonably favour digital businesses.

ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The influential Treasury Select Committee rightly pointed out that business rates damage the competitiveness of shops on the high street relative to large out-of-town distributors and online retailers.

“This is an issue we raised with the committee and senior MPs back our stance on this issue and understand that this taxation imbalance between high street businesses compared to those based online or in retail parks needs to be addressed otherwise high streets will be forced to fight an uphill battle against a system that is rigged against them.”

She said the government’s openness to suggestions on the system was “welcome”, but stressed that unless it pushes ahead with fundamental change across the entire system high street hospitality businesses, will continue to face crippling and unreasonable rates bills.

“The current system is archaic, completely unfit for purpose and sees hospitality businesses shouldering the burden as high streets are slowly strangled. The government needs to act on its manifesto promise of root and branch reform otherwise businesses will be waiting until 2025 before they see any change, by which time it will be too late for many.”

Last week the ALMR revealed proposals to merge with the British Hospitality Association (BHA), to create a combined industry body with 700 members across 65,000 outlets.

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