Procurement · 17 February 2017

Business rates review will hit London’s micro businesses hard

Business rates review
The high streets of London will face new financial pressure
A study of the upcoming business rates review by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has shown how worried owners of small firms are in the capital.

With the tax set to be revalued in April 2017, industry body the FSB is calling on the government to introduce a London business rate concession.

In a survey of small businesses, the FSB found that three quarters highlighted business rates were the single biggest issue affecting the company with the next biggest problem being economic uncertainty at a third.

The business rates review will mean the average micro business in London will pay 17, 000 in April 2017 which equates to a rateable value of approximately 35, 000.

FSB London chair Sue TerpilowskI said: London is in serious danger of losing its vital support system of micro and small businesses. The average micro business will have to find 17, 000 to cover business rates from April this year. But this increase must not be viewed in isolation as small firms will face an extra 2, 600 in additional employment costs from government policy in the 2017/2018 tax year, inflationary increases and a further increase in pensions auto-enrolment costs.

The FSB believes the best course of action is the introduction of a threshold of a 20, 000 rateable value threshold for 100 per cent relief tapering to 23, 000.

On the outskirts of London, the FSB suggests the 100 per cent relief be set at 15, 000 and tapering to 18, 000.

In making these business rates review changes, it would cost the government around 100m but be small when set in the context of the 28bn that is generated from business rates around the UK.

Simon Pitkeathley, CEO of Camden Town Unlimited, which partnered with the FSB to make the call to government, added: This research confirms what we have been hearing from the businesses we represent. The new business rates will drive firms out of London, force some businesses to cut staff or close down altogether.


 
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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hunter Ruthven was previously editor of Business Advice. He was also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs.

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