Businesses urged to lobby Government over rate increase

BUSINESSES in Weston town centre are being urged to lobby the Government to scrap a planned business rate increase.

Changes which are due to come into force in April would see a 5.6 per cent increase in rates – the highest rise for a decade.

The Government will allow businesses to defer part of the increased payments for up to two years, but this legislation may take months to implement, meaning increased bills will be sent out to firms by North Somerset Council in April.

The scheduled increase has led for calls for businesses to lobby the Chancellor to reverse the planned rise, and offer Weston’s beleaguered high street some respite.

North Somerset councillor Mike Bell said: “With proposals for increased parking charges likely to hit our town centre economy and the Business Improvement District scheme looking to add 1.5 per cent to business rates bills, the last thing businesses need is a big rise of 5.6 per cent on top.

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“I would encourage business people to write to their MP and work with their own trade groups to lobby the Chancellor to reverse this decision and help prevent irreparable damage to our High Street and town centre.”

His views were echoed by the president of the Weston Chamber of Trade, Gail Parsons. She added: “Businesses need the opportunity to recover and are working harder than ever to attract customers and continue trading.

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“A respite is desperately needed, not increasing charges which may just prove to be a tipping point for many businesses who are hanging on by their fingernails.”

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