Ilford North MP: Business rates rises risk ‘death knell’ of high streets’

The Larder, in Wanstead High Street.

The Larder, in Wanstead High Street. - Credit: Archant

Changes to the businesses rates, risk “sounding the death knell of small high street businesses” says an MP.

Revaluation of the amount of tax businesses pay has resulted in an average increase of 15per cent in Redbridge with many proprietors set to pay more, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The new rate will come into effect from April and the tax is calculated to reflect changes in the property market.

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting told the Recorder the reevaluation was “poorly thought out”.

He said: “The plans risk sounding the death knell of small high street businesses that are already struggling.

“Given that our council is putting so much energy into supporting high streets and town centres, I would hate to see that hard work undermined.”

The Larder, in High Street, Wanstead, will see its rates rise by 29pc.

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“Coming on top of ingredient price increases due to the Brexit effect on the pound, and the need for small businesses to pay workplace pensions from this year, the timing could have been better,” said owner Dan Beharall.

Every five years the government carries out a reevaluation of all public and private non-domestic properties to reflect price changes. But due to the scheme being postponed in 2015 the new business rates will reflect seven years of change.

Redbridge Chamber of Commerce chairman Geoff Hill said: “Lots of shops may find they will be affected more than they expected.”

But Conservative group leader Cllr Paul Canal said while he is confident that the chancellor will introduce short term relief in his budget, he believes the system is “no longer fit for purpose”.

He added: “The current system penalises businesses in town and district centres who effectively subsidise out of town shops and vast online warehouses. I would like the government to go further and increase the exemption limit to £20,000. That would exempt most small businesses in Redbridge.”

A Redbridge council spokesman said: “Due to changes in property rateable values a revised transitional relief scheme has been introduced to phase in the effects of increases and reductions.

“Small Business Rate Relief will be permanently increased from 50 per cent to 100 per cent and the thresholds will also be increased to benefit a greater number of businesses”