27 November 2017
The Chancellor’s Budget on Wednesday delivered generally positive news for the hospitality sector.
There was a collective sigh of relief from tourism and hospitality companies across the country on hearing the news of frozen alcohol duty and the extension to the discounted business rates. This was good news for a sector dependent on consumer confidence and facing ever-increasing pressure to deliver quality and value.
The key announcements
- Frozen duty levels on alcohol. The government intends to introduce a new duty band for still cider based on alcohol strength.
- Frozen fuel duty (for an eighth year). Additionally, there will also be a freeze on short-haul and long-haul reduced Air Passenger Duty (APD) rates from April 2019 which will help boost UK tourism.
- A change to the annual uplifting of business rates from April 2018 and addressing the so-called ‘staircase tax’. Affected businesses will be able to ask the Valuation Office Agency to recalculate valuations so that bills are based on previous practice backdated to April 2010.
- Extension of £1,000 discount on rates for pubs with a rateable value of under £100,000 for a further year.
- An increase in the National Living Wage from £7.50 to £7.83 an hour.
In a pre-Budget submission, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) had urged the Government to protect existing employments and growth by minimising cost pressures on the sector – thankfully they seem to have been heard.
Other good news included further measures to support business investment in research and development (R&D) tax credits. This tax relief is rarely thought of in this sector, however R&D tax credits could be relevant for many businesses outside the traditional IT, high-tech and manufacturing industries.