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The White Lion Pub
 
The White Lion Pub

Rating appeal saves pub

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I call Craig ‘the working man’s saviour’ for literally saving my business from financial disaster.Kelvin Barks, Landlord

The beleaguered pubs sector has been dealt a series of blows that have left the industry reeling in recent years. High taxes on beer, competition from supermarkets selling cheap alcohol and demographic changes have all taken their toll, triggering the closure of as many as four pubs a day across the country.

A hike in business rates look set to be the next financial headache for pub owners and licensees, payable from April 2017. But even before the next rates increase starts to bite, many pubs are already struggling under an unfair financial burden that is the result of incorrect rating assessments.

Staffordshire pub owner Kelvin Barks, landlord of the White Lion in Leek was finding it difficult to keep his business going in a tough economic climate and had seen his business rates spiral to around  £10,000 a year. When an individual appeal to the government’s Valuation Office Agency (VOA) was unsuccessful, Mr Barks was at his wits’ end.

“I knew that my business rates shouldn’t have been as high as they were. They were crippling the pub that I’d worked so hard for 13 years to make a success but I didn’t seem to be able to get through to the VOA and make anyone listen to my complaints,” he said.

“My accountant did some research and found that Eddisons business rates team was very well respected when it comes to sorting out rating issues,” he added. “I got in touch with Craig Newton at Eddisons and I’m so glad I did. Working on a no-win-no-fee basis, in just a few months Craig managed to halve the amount of business rates I was having to pay, and I have gone from being in arrears with the council to actually being in credit.”

Craig and his team successfully appealed to the VOA on Kelvin’s behalf after scrutinising the White Lion’s accounts and verifying that the pub’s rateable value had been set too high. “It can be so difficult for sole traders, or even larger businesses, to challenge the VOA,” said Craig.

“It’s an extremely bureaucratic and complicated system, but because we do this sort of thing for clients every day we are used to dealing with them and have saved pubs, hotels and other businesses millions of pounds over the years in rates they should not have been paying in the first place.”

For Kelvin, the successful appeal to the VOA has enabled him to clear his debts and focus on making his business a success. “I can’t thank Craig enough,” he says. “He and the Eddisons team were always very helpful and professional to deal with and required minimal input from me.

“Working on a no-win-no-fee basis also took extra worry out of the situation. A huge burden has been lifted off me now and I’m so impressed I call Craig ‘the working man’s saviour’ for literally saving my business from financial disaster.”

For advice on your business rates talk to our rating specialist Craig Newton or read more about the impact of rate rises on the licenced trade industry.

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© Eddisons 2017