Sajid Javid announces new 'Pub Relief' plan to slash £1,000 off business rates for small bars
Pubs are set to see their business rates slashed by £1,000 under new plans drawn up by the Treasury.
The Chancellor said an estimated 18,000 premises with a rateable value of less than £100,000 would benefit from the new scheme, set to come into force in April.
It comes after the Government announced it was halving business rates for small retailers with a rateable value below £51,000 in a bid to give a shot in the arm to the UK's flagging high streets.
But industry groups have said the cuts serve as a "sticking plaster" as they called for a "complete review" of the rates sytem.
Thousands of small businesses, including shops, cinemas, clubs and hairdressers are expected to be eligible for the wider rates reduction which form part of a £280million package to revive "overlooked and left behind" towns.
Meanwhile, Treasury estimates claim pubs falling below the lower threshold could benefit from the double rates cut, to the tune of around £13,500.
Announcing the new measures, Mr Javid said: "Thousands of pubs will get £1,000 off their rates bill this April, thanks to the changes we're announcing today.
"These will mean lower rates for the small independent shops, cafes and locals at the heart of our communities, as well as for the local papers that are a vital pillar in local democracy."
But responding to the announcement, Nik Antona, chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale, said the "unfair" rates system was still forcing local pubs into closure.
"Pubs are at the heart of local communities across the UK. They act as important social hubs - helping to tackle loneliness and social isolation," he said.
"Yet many are suffering under an unfair business rates system which results in well-loved local being forced to close.
"Whilst the rates discount will be welcomed, moves like this are only a sticking plaster."
He added: "We need a complete review of the business rates system to help give pubs a fair deal and save them from closure."
However, Community Pubs Minister Luke Hall said the new plans demonstrated the government's "firm commitment" to the industry.
"Pubs are front and centre of communities around the country, the key to thousands of jobs and providing a meeting point for local residents to get together and enjoy a pint," he said.
"Today's business rates cut continues our firm commitment to support pub owners, helping to keep the pints pouring and the locals happy."
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe