Broadcaster BT Sport has announced that it will not be restructuring its prices to fall into line with new business rates.

It means that pubs that receive an increase in its rates from April will not see a hiked bill from the TV sports supplier.

Bruce Cuthbert, commercial customers director at BT Sport, said the decision to defer followed discussions with pub trade bodies.

"It is clear that with additional cost pressure from increases in the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage combined with growing price inflation, it seemed common sense to wait for the dust to settle before finalising any new pricing structure," he said.

"It will have been seven years since the business rates were last updated and with a number of changes being introduced including new transitional arrangements and the overall appeals process, now is not the time to make any changes."

 

Bruce Cuthbert: "Not the time to make changes."

 

In July last year BT Sport revealed an 8.9 per cent increase in prices but allowed customers to fix prices for two years.

Sky has yet to comment on how its prices could be impacted by the new business rates. Its prices for pubs went up by 10 per cent in August.

Meanwhile British Beer & Pub Association chief, Brigid Simmonds has welcomed a government review of the new rates. However, she said more needs to be done to support the pub sector.

"A wider review is needed, so that the Government can consider the specific needs of the pub sector, which should have its own system of relief, given we are shouldering such an unfair share of the rates burden. The BBPA believes that pubs are overpaying business rates by £500 million."

Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers chief Kate Nichollls added: "Overtures by the Minister (Sajid Javid) to level the playing field are very welcome, but he must follow through with his statements and act decisively. In particular, he must address the very specific concerns of the licensed hospitality sector that is uniquely disadvantaged by the current system.

"If he is serious about reform for the sector then the Minister must consider the ALMR's three chief requests: the introduction of sector-specific relief for pubs and bars, a capping of bills increases, and retention of a robust and fair system for appeals."