Traders take action to fight rise in rates
TRADERS have demanded a freeze in business rates next year.
Cottingham businesses and the TaxPayers' Alliance took to the streets yesterday as part of the campaign, which has been launched with the British Retail Consortium.
Business rates have gone up by more than 10 per cent in the last two years.
The campaigners have warned the proposed 2.6 per cent hike for next year poses a threat to the continued existence of shops on the region's high streets, which could not only lead to reduced consumer choice, but also destroy jobs.
Philip Noon, owner of Frank Pullan butchers in the village, said: "It would be another nail in the coffin. Plans for a supermarket in the village have been improved and we could be seeing the introduction of car parking charges next year.
"It is important we are given some help.
"Businesses will have to increase prices to subsidise these increases."
Rates are currently translated directly from September's Retail Price Index figure. This year's figure was 2.6 per cent, which is estimated to add more than £600m to businesses' bills nationally next year.
The campaigners say another substantial rates hike would hit retailers particularly hard, as they pay 28 per cent of all business rates.
Andrew Allison, national grassroots co-ordinator for the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "Local retailers across East Yorkshire are suffering from the crippling level of business rates.
"Many have been forced to close and jobs have been lost as businesses struggle to make ends meet.
"Empty shops make for an unattractive environment that can have a negative impact on even the most successful of businesses.
"The Government should abandon its planned increase in business rates before any further damage is done to the local economy."
A message to the Government, on the campaign's website, says: "If it's serious about supporting growth, investment and job creation, the Government needs to freeze business rates in 2013, and review the system for setting them to ensure it is affordable and fair for the future."
Residents and businesses in the area are being urged to visit freezebusinessrates.org to support the campaign.