The Dartmouth Chronicle today published an opinion article on Business Rates by the Dartmouth Business News. This is the first of a series of occasional articles focusing on the Businesses of Dartmouth. We will look at national and local events and try to analyse what impact they might have on the local business community. I include a scan of the article here and the full text is included below the image.
Revolt grows over unfair Business Rate change
Thirteen employer groups and Organisations including the CBI and the British Retail Consortium have come together to condemn the proposed Business Rates changes due to be implemented in April this year.
Other signatories to the letter include the Federation of Small Businesses, Revo, the Association of Convenience Stores, the British Chambers of Commerce and the British Property Federation.
Business rates are in effect the commercial version of council tax, and are paid on the rental value of the space that businesses occupy. The amount depends of the size of the property and what it’s used for.
The last time properties were valued, in 2010, almost half of UK businesses appealed against how much they were due to pay. Dartmouth businesses will remember the hard battle fought by local retailers, led by the Chamber of Trade, to try and reduce the dramatic increases that were proposed at that time, some as high as a 300% increase. A Dartmouth deputation visited Parliament to lobby against the increases but in most cases the increase went ahead. Some appeals were upheld but very few.
Dartmouth has again seen some big rises linked mainly to the perceived increase in rental values of Dartmouth commercial properties over the last 7 years. However this takes no account of the reduction in footfall over that time, which has been significant. I think we are all aware that high streets across the country are in decline and this increase will have a deep impact on the ability of some Independent traders to sustain a profitable business. Pubs can be hit more because their Business Rates are currently calculated on annual turnover, which means the more successful you are the more you will be hit with higher costs, a real disincentive to hard work.
Sadly the big internet based businesses are only rated on their distribution centers meaning they pay very little in Business Rates relative to their turnover. This is clearly not fair.
Tourism businesses have been invited to write to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to outline the impact these rate changes will have on their businesses. I suggest that we in Dartmouth need to make our views known and send as many emails as we can to this email address. Details should be sent to [email protected]
Don’t adopt the attitude that it is a waste of time “because we have tried before”, the more of us who write then the louder our voice will be.