THE Government is being urged to stop pubs from being driven out of business by introducing a £5000 annual reduction on their “rocketing” business rates.

Reviews of business rates across England are seeing many pubs hit with a “massive” new financial burden, according to the Campaign for Real Ale.

The “sky-high” tax burden is contributing to 21 pub closures a week, said the campaign group.

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Colin Valentine, Camra’s chairman, speaking ahead of the group’s annual beer festival in London this week, said: “Taxes now make up more than a third of the cost of a pub pint. Despite the fact that pubs currently account for 0.5 per cent of turnover of the UK economy, they are still paying 2.8 per cent of the business rates.”