The best pubs in the country are all set to receive huge business rates increases, according to a leading trade body.

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers has studied the six finalists in this year's BII Licensee of the Year competition and found that on average their rateable values (RV) have risen by 57 per cent.

Winning pub, The Castle at Edgehill in the Costwolds, is facing a 258 per cent RV rise which will see its business rates double by 2020/21.

Licensee of the Year, Mark Higgs, who runs the Hook Norton tenancy, said: "The government is penalising successful operators through the current unfair rates system.


Mark Higgs (left) with Hook Norton managing director James Clarke.


"I have grown trade and invested significantly in my pub and now I am faced with a steep increase in my rates bill. That just isn't right. The system needs a huge overhaul and a fairer approach to hospitality businesses to encourage growth must be implemented as quickly as possible."

Other notable increases include the Kings Head, Thursley, Surrey, which has experienced a 133 per cent increase and Merchants 1668, Lancaster, which has risen by 86 per cent.

By 2020/21 the six pubs will be paying 64 per cent more in business rates than before the revaluation.

ALMR chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: "These six outstanding licensees run exceptional pub businesses that contribute greatly to the local community and have been recognised as some of the best the country has to offer.

"How can it be right that their success is penalised by significant hikes in their rates bills which threaten to hamper future growth and job creation?"

She added: "If the government is serious about supporting pubs and values the economic and social contribution they make, then it must push forward with reform as soon as possible."