The Forum of Private Business is lobbying the Chancellor to reduce beer duty as part of a package to make the leading pubcos give their tenants a rental holiday while they are closed.

An open letter has been sent to the Treasury and to the Business Minister encouraging them to support the initiative in an effort to save the pubs and preserve local communities.

Ian Cass, managing director of the Forum, said: “Our usual stance has been to resist a reduction in the beer tax as this would predominantly be for the benefit of the pubcos and not the pubs themselves.

“But in these difficult times, when most tied pub tenants are still being required by the pubcos to pay their rent, notwithstanding that the pubs are closed, any incentive that can be introduced to persuade the pubcos to give tenants a rental holiday is worth exploring.”

Ian Cass
Ian Cass, managing director of the Forum of Private Business

The request comes on the same day that the Pub Code Adjudicator and the Deputy Pub Code Adjudicator called on the five out of six major pubcos who are not currently providing rent holidays, to show leadership in the sector by doing so.

Between them, the outstanding five account for approximately 2,500 pubs, many of which may not open at the end of the crisis without the relief that the Pub Code Adjudicator is asking for.

The forum’s proposal cites the British Beer and Pub Association’s claim that just a 1p reduction in the beer tax would save the industry millions of pounds, which the forum maintains could be allocated to a rental holiday initiative.

Ian added: “Admiral Taverns have led the way amongst the major pubcos by confirming that they will allow rental holidays, and we are pressing hard for others to follow suit. If this initiative would lead to them to do so, we would be strongly behind it.”

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