Pub landlords could be hit by tenfold rises in the cost of their licences under plans put forward by the Government.
The Home Office is proposing to hand the power to set licence fees – paid by bars, pubs and anywhere that serves alcohol – from Whitehall to local authorities.
It also plans to scrap the banding scheme that links the price of the licence to the rateable value of the property.
Those in the industry now fear this will see struggling pubs forced to pay hundreds of pounds more.
The Home Office estimates that local authorities could benefit by £14million to £16million though it adds the figure could be higher and vary greatly between authorities.
An owner of a band B pub, the typical band for a pub, pays £180 a year for a licence.
The proposed cap under the new scheme is £740. For smaller pubs paying £70 that would represent a 957 per cent increase.
Brigid Simmonds, head of the British Beer & Pub Association, told thisismoney.co.uk: “We are asking publicans to write to the Home Office with their views.”
The consultation closes on 10th April.