‘Dreadful start to the year’: Business rate flexibility imperative to survival of high street, demands Rochdale MP

By Ben Ireland

The survival of local high streets needs more flexible business rate payments, according to Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk.

He suggested local authorities should have discretionary powers to allow businesses to spread payments over 12 months instead of ten.

Retailers are preparing for a 2.6% increase in business rates from April, following what Mr Danczuk described as a ‘dreadful start to the year’.

“George Osborne might be burying his head in the sand about this,” he said.

“But local authorities need to be in touch with business concerns and one way they can ease the pain is by letting businesses pay rates bills over 12 months instead of ten.”

The idea was originally proposed by businesswoman Mary Portas in her independent high street review.

Mr Danczuk added: “Small businesses are always telling me that business rates are far too high and this is something that government ministers have to take responsibility for.

“But councils can do their bit by making better collection arrangements and if this provides a bit more breathing space in what are very tough trading conditions then it’s got to be worth it.”

Following the expected Christmas boom, sales have inevitably dropped, but businesses are still expected to cough up rising operating costs.

Picture courtesy of gene hunt, with thanks.

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