The price of alcohol may go up considerably as businesses struggle with the rising cost of business rates.
A shadow minister has said that, for example, pubs could be forced to put up the price of a pint by 30p.
Gill Furniss said pubs would be hit with a £421 million increase in their bills as a result of the Government’s controversial re-evaluation.
Tory former minister Richard Benyon added that pubs were a ‘net loser’ from re-evaluations in his Newbury constituency, as he urged ministers to get a grip on the Valuation Office Agency.
Local government minister Andrew Percy said the criteria for rate rises had been agreed by the industry, adding that transitional support was still being discussed by his department and the Treasury.
Speaking at communities and local government questions, shadow business minister Ms Furniss said: ‘Twenty-nine pubs are closing every week and the industry estimate they will need to increase prices by 30p per pint to deal with the £421 million rates increase after the re-evaluation.
‘All small businesses – many in Sheffield and Brightside, my own constituency – are in the firing line.
‘Given the public outcry from local businesses, local authorities and even his own backbenchers, does the Secretary of State agree with Labour that there should be a full review of how business rates operate?’
Mr Percy told MPs the approach to valuing pubs had been agreed with all five bodies representing the pub sector, including the British Beer and Pub Association and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers.
He added: ‘Pubs and pub restaurants across Yorkshire and the Humber will actually see a 4% cut in their rates overall, and of course many of them will also benefit from the doubling of small business rate relief.
‘The Secretary of State and the Chancellor are continuing to look very closely at what further support can be made available to those who are most impacted by rises.’