A HAMPSHIRE pub is battling to survive after a huge increase in its rateable value left it unable to claim government cash during the lockdown.

Craig Bannister, owner of The Glen in Butts Ash Lane, Hythe, fears he may have to dip into his savings in a bid to keep the business afloat.

The pub has opened a drive-thru bottle bar selling wines, spirits and beer in a bid to replace some of its lost income.

Following a review carried out in 2017 its rateable value - known as RV - has been increased from £44,000 to £66,000 - a rise of 50%.

Mr Bannister, whose son Jordan is the pub's manager, has lodged an appeal but fears it could be months before his case is heard.

He said: "The coronavirus small business support package uses RV as its benchmark. If RV is greater than £51,000 no grant is available, regardless of need."

Ministers have warned that the UK's 47,000 pubs may have to remain shut until August and possibly beyond.

Earlier this month the British Beer and Pubs Association warned that four in ten watering holes could be forced to close for good unless they receive extra government support.

In a letter to New Forest East MP Julian Lewis Mr Bannister says his appeal, if accepted, would enable his business to access the business support grant offered by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak.

It adds: "As it stands my business is getting no direct support from the government.

"The situation cannot persist whereby businesses that support local jobs and provide value to the local economy are allowed to fail because of red tape."

In a similar letter to Hythe councillor Malcolm Wade he adds: "The criteria for the government support grant is based on an arbitrary figure linked to the business’s rateable value.

"This is discriminatory and not based on need or community value.

"I have appealed and an independent assessment has concluded that the RV should be in the region of £48,500. This appeal was lodged with the Valuation Office Agency last year and has yet not been replied to.

"The pub trade will be the last to be released from lock down and will have missed key trading months.

"I hope to be able to keep The Glen open but that looks likely that will require me to use my personal savings and pension, that is a tough call and it troubles me on a daily basis.

"The government support grant would give me some breathing space and the moral support to continue to plan to reopen."


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