The return of full business rates is likely to cause further financial strain for community pharmacies across the country, the National Pharmacy Association has warned

SHUTTER DIN sad pharmacy pharmacist stress

The Government’s business rates holiday, a scheme whereby companies’ business rates have been heavily reduced for the past 2 years in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to end on 31 March this year. It was introduced in March 2020, extended in July 2021, and has seen rates reduced by up to 50% for community pharmacies across the country.

In light of this, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has warned the Government that community pharmacies are likely to need financial support to help them cope with the return of full business rates.

NPA Chief Executive Mark Lyonette commented: ‘The costs of running pharmacies keeps rising and this inflationary pressure must be recognised by the Government and the NHS as a problem that requires a meaningful response in terms of funding.

‘Pharmacies have seen staff costs going through the roof and energy prices too. Business rates are yet another cost burden that will really hurt our members.’

Olivier Picard, NPA Board Member and owner of Newsday Pharmacy in Eton, also commented: ‘I have just received my rates renewal and it’s going to cost me thousands across my four pharmacies.

‘This will be very painful for independent pharmacies like mine, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see how the rising cost of doing business can be absorbed without affecting patient care.’

The business rates holiday has been extended for businesses in Northern Ireland, the Northern Irish Finance Minister Conor Murphy announced last week, citing inflation and increasing maintenance costs as the central reasons.

‘Over recent months I have visited businesses from all sectors across the North,’ Mr Murphy said. ‘The common message coming from these businesses has been that the rates holiday was a vital lifeline for them during the pandemic.’

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