Traders need cuts in business rates
- Credit: Archant
DISCOUNTS on business rates are being celebrated by many independent shops in Weston but some owners feel they should have been introduced earlier to save stores.
The Government brought in new discounts on business rates, on April 1, which includes a retail discount of up to £1,000 for stores that have a rateable value of less then £50,000.
North Somerset Council has estimated about 1,500 businesses could benefit, such as shops, restaurants, hair salons, art galleries, post offices, cafes and pubs.
Debbie Gibson, owner of Just For Fun in Meadow Street, said independent stores in the town need more support from the Government.
She said: “Business is quiet right now and Weston traders definitely need some support.
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“They should have brought in these discounts a long time ago. Imagine the amount of businesses that have gone because they could not cope.
“To keep the independent little shops we need to be given a bit more support, these stores are important in the town.”
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Liberal Democrat and Weston town councillor, Mike Bell, said: “This is a fantastic new initiative that I hope will really boost our local retail sector.
“We all want to see a stronger economy in Weston, Worle and the villages and in particular, we urgently need to see a step change in our retail offer.
“Because this retail scheme is open to existing as well as new businesses, it will help those struggling to survive as well as those looking to launch a new enterprise.”
The scheme will also offer a 50 per cent discount on business rates to those who occupy long-term empty premises, and an initiative to encourage businesses to occupy premises that have been empty for a year or more has also been launched.
Dianne Knowles, owner of Rose and Amber in Meadow Street, said: “I think the forms should have come out earlier because we are already paying our rates. Rates are an issue for independent traders and it’s something the council needs to look at.”