Autumn Budget a mixed bag for the coin-op sector

philip hammond chancellor
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The Autumn Budget contained good news on business rates, but, as expected, overlooked the gambling industry.


Last Wednesday saw Philip Hammond deliver the UK’s first Autumn Budget for 21 years, but predictably, the chancellor’s speech neglected to mention gambling.

For previous budgets, the HMRC published documents relating to taxation changes as a result of the chancellor’s speech, with the Spring Budget including a forecast from the Treasury/HMRC for gaming duty over the next five years.

However, on 22 November, HMRC published a statement, outlining that the forecast on gaming duty has been deferred until the conclusion of the current triennial review consultation by DCMS.

“The government will publish a consultation in early 2018 on gaming duty return periods to seek views on bringing the administration of gaming duty more into line with the other gambling duties,” HMRC stated.

“It will also seek views on removal of the requirement to make payments on account.”

“We were of course disappointed not to achieve a five percent rate for SWPs a case we will continue to make,” stated Bacta chief executive, John White.

Despite this, the budget did include several changes which will affect small businesses, with the chancellor taking the opportunity to point out that, “this Conservative government listens to and supports” the sector.

Perhaps the biggest news is the decision to bring changes to business rates – which will now increase in line with the consumer prices index (CPI) instead of the higher, retail prices index (RPI) – forward to April, a move which the chancellor said could be worth £2.3bn to businesses.

Revaluation periods were also changed from every five years to every three years, while pubs with a rateable value up to £100,000 will continue to receive a £1,000 discount next year.

“The Chancellor’s announcement of an extension to the £1000 rate relief for small pubs is not nearly enough amounting, as it does, to £20 a week,” said Ufi Ibrahim, the CEO of the British Hospitality Association.

“The decision to review rates every three years, which the BHA has been calling for, is welcome but is of no comfort to those hospitality businesses facing huge rises right now.

“His decision to bring forward the use of CPI rather than RPI to set business rates is a good one.”

However the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) took a similar view, stating that it “welcomed [the] support” on alcohol duty and business rates.

“At a time of rising costs, a freeze in the beer duty and a continuation of support for pubs on business rates is very welcome,” said ALMR CEO, Kate Nicholls.

“The ALMR has been pushing for a duty freeze across all alcohol types, and this positive action will help tackle rising costs, saving the sector around £116 million, as well as underpinning consumer confidence.

“An extension of the pub-specific rates relief will save the sector almost £20m and bringing forward the move from RPI to CPI to calculate bills, something the ALMR has pushed for, will save almost to £100 million over four years.”

While the ALMR praised the decision to have more frequent business rate revaluations, it did note that in practice, “there may be some administrative burdens which will need to be addressed.”


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