Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:32 am on 18th October 2007.

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Photo of Tony Baldry Tony Baldry Conservative, Banbury 11:32 am, 18th October 2007

May I draw the Leader of the House's attention to early-day motion 2113?

That this House is concerned at the changes to the guidance on business rates for public houses; notes that changes to the Non-Domestic Rating Reference Manual will mean the levy will be raised for pubs with quizzes, televisions, pool tables, dart boards or a football team; believes this could result in an increase of £440 a year in their business rates which for some remote pubs paying £1,000 a year in rates could see their tax bill increase by almost half under new rules; further believes that this would have a devastating impact for some pubs with the Campaign for Real Ale already estimating that 56 pubs are already closing permanently each month; and calls on the Government to amend the guidance for inspectors so that business rates do not rise further for pubs in 2010 but instead they are allowed to remain thriving at the heart of many communities.

Even by the standards of this Government's stealth taxes, hammering pubs that organise quizzes or have a football team with extra business rates seems pretty crazy. Many villages have lost their shops or are threatened with losing their post offices. For them, the village pub is very often the most important community facility left, so hammering the ones that are successful and doing community work with higher business rates is crazy.