Taxman Admits Smoking Ban Devalues Pubs
Publicans who applied for a reduction in the rateable value of their premises after the ban was introduced in 2007 were turned down on the grounds there had been no material change in the way the pub was used.
But the Valuation Office Agency has received legal advice saying that decision was wrong.
"The Government's own tax inspectors have now admitted that pubs may be eligible for refunds on their business rates, but pub owners are being intentionally kept in the dark on this U-turn.
"Ministers are only interested in changing the local tax regime when it raises extra money for Gordon Brown's coffers. Yet again, Labour's taxmen have been caught red-handed fiddling the system to make families and firms pay more than they should. Thanks to Whitehall secrecy and this stealth pub tax, local firms are going to the wall and everyday pub-goers are being hit in the wallet."