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Soaring cost of business tempers London confidence rise

Hunter Ruthven | 19 June 2017 | 7 years ago

London cost of business
The FSB wants the government to move forwards with plans to support smaller London firms
New data has shown that, despite business confidence in London rising impressively in the last year, the cost of business has also climbed led by factors such as exchange rates and labour costs.

In the Federation of Small Business (FSB) London Quarterly Small Business Index for Q2 of 2017, 69 per cent of businesses questioned registered an overall increase in the cost of business in the last quarter compared to nine per cent which saw a decrease.

In light of the survey, the FSB is calling on the government to make the distribution of the 300m Discretionary Business Rate Fund available at an earlier date support the vast majority of companies which are feeling the pinch.

Sue Terpilowski, London policy chair at the FSB, said: With the election out of the way, there’s absolutely no excuse for local authority debt collectors chasing small businesses for incorrect, over-inflated bills without the emergency relief applied.

consumer-facing businesses are really starting to feel the squeeze. Many small firms that operate in the retail and hospitality sectors depend on EU 27 workers. Ensuring these vital employees have the right to remain needs to be a first port of call once Brexit talks launch.

The Discretionary Business Rate Fund was unveiled by chancellor Philip Hammond back in March and is designed to help businesses in the wake of business rates rises following the revaluation of properties. Back then, Hammond said no company losing its small business rate relief would see a bill increase by more than 50 a month.

However, following prime minister Theresa May’s snap general election call, and subsequent loss of her majority in parliament, the roll out of the 300m fund has suffered a number of false starts with the FSB now saying the lack of clarity is putting small companies under additional pressure.

The soaring cost of business noted in the FSB study has, alongside rising business rates, been abetted by labour costs, the exchange rate, rent, utility costs and inputs into the business.

However, 39 per cent of small London firms have seen the value of exports increase during Q2 of 2017, compared to Q1. Positively was also uncovered around the issue of access to finance with 74 per cent reporting success in credit applications. This is the second highest it has ever been.

Find out about the business rates loopholes your small company should know.

Also, if you’d like to find out how to appeal a business rates ruling then have a look at our guide.

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