CAMRA and its members are currently lobbying MPs for a penny off duty on a pint of beer at the forthcoming budget to help pubs and brewers, additionally drinkers are being rallied across the country to apply to get their community pubs listed as assets of Community Value, which means that the community gets to have a say in any plans for a pub that closes to be turned into something else or demolished. However there is a perfect storm on the horizon – business rates are being reviewed by cash strapped local authorities and being judged based on property values – so areas that have improved in the last few years will see taxes rocket and it is thought some pubs could see their rates rise by about 40% and in some examples triple. Some examples in Sheffield that will see a hefty increase in business rates are the Sheffield Tap and the pubs around the Kelham Island district. At the same time as the rates increase, there is also the introduction of the living wage scheme which is above the current minimum wage that many pub and bar workers earn. Of course I’m sure most of us wouldn’t begrudge the staff that serve us a living wage just so we can enjoy beer a few pence cheaper, however it all adds up for publicans! According to press reports, the new business rates coupled with the increased payroll costs could add 5p to a pint of beer (plus VAT). However then there are increased costs for brewers to pass on to the pubs too…..