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Wye Valley Brewery owner Peter Amor said the business rates rise is unfair on pubs

From The Hereford Times - Click here....!

A brewery owner has slammed the proposed rise in business rates for pubs which he said will make an already declining trade suffer further.

Peter Amor, founder of Wye Valley Brewery, said he is facing a 43 percent rate rise at The Barrels in St Owen Street, Hereford and a huge 137 percent rise at another of their eight pubs, The Rose and Lion in Bromyard.

The government's Valuation Office Agency has given The Barrels a draft valuation of £110,000 compared to the current rateable value of £77,000.

While, Tesco in Bewell Street looks set to have its rates cut from £1,120,000 to £965,000.

From April, business rates in England and Wales are being updated by the government to take into account changes in property values since they were last rated in 2008- the revaluation is two years later than planned.

Unlike other commercial property, the valuation office values pubs based on a percentage of their turnover.

Mr Amor said: "At the moment in the pub sector we have a downturn in trade, yet we face an increase in business rates. It's appalling and incredibly disappointing.

"The pub trade can least afford an upturn in business rates as there is already a decline in alcohol sales and pubs are closing every week."

The new rates will not be confirmed until April but according to draft revaluations on the government website, not all businesses will face rate rises with many county shops look set to pay the same or less.

Mr Amor also said it is unfair as their new rates will be based on a turnover from 2010 and does not take into account a decline in trade.

He said: "New pubs in the area won't be subject to the same rates as they calculate the rates on years before when they didn't exist and our business was doing better so it is outdated in the first place and the government should do something."

Many of the pubs and bars in Commercial Road are facing rises too, as are farm shops in the county.

Mr Amor said: "The whole thing is a mess," and he said the brewery will not be able to hire as many people as before.

The government has also announced that business owners will have to pay up to £300 to appeal and face a fine of up to £500 if they make a mistake on documents.

However the government said that bills will rise gradually over five years, and there is a transitional relief worth £3.6 billion to help business owners adjust to the new bills.

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