Many people enjoy hitting their local high street and spending their hard-earned cash in their favourite stores. However, rising business rates are posing an increasingly serious threat to more and more local shops.
These rates are a massive burden and are a major bill which businesses have to pay regardless of whether they are making the money to pay it.
For example, I checked out how much my little neighbourhood bakery in South London has to pay in business rates. I found via www.gov.uk that this small business gets an annual bill for over £5,000 - on top of all the other costs of running the business.
These high costs deter many from setting up their own business.
At a time when the Government is calling for the private sector to step up to the plate and help the economy return to growth, freezing business rates would be a simple way to support businesses. Freezing these rates would be a great way of letting firms grow, prosper and create new jobs.
Research published this week by the Forum of Private Business, Tax priorities for the Coalition, found around 95% of all business owners feeling that the levels of business rates are too high, while two thirds saw no benefits for the amount of money they were taxed. So what can be done to help the shops on our local high street thrive?
We are working with the British Retail Consortium to make the case as to why business rates should be frozen. The website www.FreezeBusinessRates.org has been set up to allow people to contact their MP and ask them if they are going to stick up for small businesses by calling for a freeze in business rates.
So if you want to support local businesses then please do visit the website and urge your MP to back the campaign.