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Lloyds CEO ‘implores’ government to reimburse pharmacy business rates

Lloydspharmacy CEO: Increasing operational costs inhibits pharmacy's ability to innovate

Lloydspharmacy’s CEO is “imploring” the government to treat pharmacies the same as GPs by reimbursing their business rates.

Despite other NHS providers, such as GP practices and dental surgeries, having their business rate tax reimbursed by the NHS, “pharmacy is inexplicably charged the full amount”, Toby Anderson, CEO of Lloydspharmacy’s parent company McKesson UK said today (August 14).

“We believe this is fundamentally at odds with the NHS long-term plan that relies on pharmacies stepping up and becoming a more integrated partner.

“For us to be able to do that, we need the government to untie our hands,” he stressed.

“Fix the broken system”

Mr Anderson’s comments come the day after more than 50 high street retailers signed a letter coordinated by the British Retail Consortium, urging the government to “fix the broken business rates system” for the UK’s retail industry.

McKesson UK, Boots, Well and Superdrug were among the signatories of the letter, which claims that “the UK has one of the highest commercial property taxes in the world”, with retail paying 25% of all business rates in the UK.

“The rate has risen by 50% since business rates’ inception in the 1990s, and 20% in the last decade alone,” they claimed.

A government spokesperson told C+D today that the Prime Minister’s £3.6 billion ‘Towns Fund’ announced last month will support high street retailers to “attract greater footfall, jobs and investment”.

The government has also committed to slashing business rates by £13bn over the next five years and has given small retailers £1bn worth of business rates relief, it claimed.

Unequal treatment

Mr Anderson said community pharmacies are not just retailers, but provide a vital NHS service, and should “have access to the same conditions that other healthcare professionals like GPs and dentists have”.

“The business rates we currently face do not reflect the critical role we play in the communities we serve,” he said.

“The inequity of how healthcare providers are treated is compounding the financial pressure already being faced by our sector. With changes to funding and increasing operational costs, the ability to invest and grow our business is becoming more challenging.”

Last month, McKesson UK warned the commitment to flat funding in the new five-year contract for pharmacy “will inevitably limit the sector’s potential for investment and innovation”.

18 Comments
Question: 
Do you struggle to pay business rates for your pharmacy?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Lloyds could start innovating by changing their PMR away from Compass, the 20-year-old relic of a piece of software that struggles to do basic functions.

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

Doctors get rates and rents reimbursed. Why don’t we? 

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

We gave up that right many years ago as a trade off against proving a need to open a pharmacy and the supposed increase in goodwill value. A few lonely voices warned it was the thin edge of the wedge. Some bigger contractors did not like the 'front loading' aspect of arrangements at that point in time towards the smaller operator. Now the big dogs are feeling the pinch as they are not immune.

Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

True, but then doctors don't choose to be on High Street with high rents and rates and are not clustered. I can't see The Treasury agreeing to this

Ranjeev Patel, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Because when things get taken away from pharmacists, they don't stick up for themselves. It is a profession divided. Thanks to those people who insist that they are "clinical pharmacists" so that they can sit in their office drinking coffee whilst dodging the dispensary work. Well done to them.

Meera Sharma, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

Well done for highlighting this. Who is speaking for Independents nowadays? 

Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

Certainly not Lloyds - they want to close you down.

Hanbal Chaudry, Community pharmacist

I hate to be devisive as a Pharmacy Owner but bleach the likes of Lloyd’s/Boots dry I say. Business rates don’t apply to small retail community Pharnacies. These vertically integrated behemoths should be charged more and a higher profit discounted.

Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

And in other breaking news - Turkeys have called for a ban on Christmas...

Ranjeev Patel, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Lloyds wanting more money. Who would have thought that?

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

I think he is asking for all Pharmacies to be refunded the Business Rates, not just for Loyds.

Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

Other pharmacies getting their rates refunded would be an unforeseen consequence. Don't be naive about this.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

If the Govt ever decides to reimburse rates, then they have to do it for all Pharmacies and not just for Loyds. Commonsense?

Ranjeev Patel, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Yes but Lloyds couldn't care less about whether other pharmacies get their rates reimbursed or not, they just want more and more cash for themselves. Do you think that they are doing this to help all pharmacies in the UK or just themselves? Use your brain.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

My BRAIN tells me that, whether Loyds help or not , if there is any news that Loyds' Pharmacies have received any business rate refund then that should apply to all Pharmacies paying business rates. If not then there would be loads of court cases against the Govt. in this regard.

If you really think, with your active BRAIN, in one way Loyds' making this claim may actually help all other Pharmacies.

So Think!!

Ranjeev Patel, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Whether your brain is capitalised or not, you should know that Lloyds only want cold hard cash and they will do anything to get it. Hence this article.

SP Ph, Community pharmacist

I hope, just for this time, they do get it. As N O says, if they get it then all of us indepedents should get too. At least that way for the first time we will see a Multiple indirectly helping the independet Pharmacies.

Ranjeev Patel, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Lloyds are only trying to help themselves. I can guarantee you that the government will ignore this as their agenda is to get rid of bricks and mortar pharmacies anyway. Why would they care about a greedy and disgusting American congolmerate asking for free money?

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