22 February 2017
Small firms ‘could struggle to survive business rate hike’
The survival of small businesses is under threat amid a sharp rise in business rates, industry leaders are warning.
From April 1, business rates are due to increase, with newly-assessed rateable values coming into force. The news has caused panic among business owners across the country.
Certain firms will either have to lay off staff or close down to cover the rate rise, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
According to an FSB survey, three-quarters (74%) of companies say business rates are one of the biggest issues they face.
The poll of 129 businesses finds that four in 10 expect to see an increase of above 20% in their business rates.
The FSB and Camden Town Unlimited Business Improvement District are now calling for the threshold for business rate relief to be raised and are urging Chancellor Philip Hammond to take action in next month's Budget.
Responding to the report, a Government spokesman said: "From April, 140,000 businesses in London will benefit from the country's biggest pot of transitional relief, worth £1 billion in total, and 100,000 of these will be small firms.
"The revaluation improves the fairness of rate bills by making sure they more closely reflect the property market."