Rural businesses at risk from business rates hammer blow

Rural businesses at risk from business rates hammer blow

The Countryside Alliance said it was effectively a ‘bricks and mortar tax’ which did not take into account profitability and urged the Government to ‘go back to the drawing board’.

Slammed

Liberal Democrat leader and South Lakes MP Tim Farron slammed the Government for treating rural businesses as a ‘cash cow’ adding it should be supporting them, ‘not slapping them with an even larger tax bill’.

Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies warned there could be ‘an uprising’ against the rates.

Business rates are paid by businesses with properties worth more than £12,000 and the rate is based upon the value which would be paid in rent on the property.

But Jeremy Eaton, general manager at Skipton Auction Mart, challenged the increase in rateable value. He said his mart was almost in a ‘breakeven situation’.

Rental value

“We make a modest profit, it would not stand a rental of £250,000,” he said.

Brian Richardson, chief executive of H and H added: “The latest revaluation of business rates has seen the rural community hit as the definition of farming has become tighter and potentially meant changes in the system that brings in new areas to the rating regime as well as the general revaluation that has taken place.”

Chris Dodds, executive secretary of the Livestock Auctioneers Association said valuation officers did not seem to understand livestock markets were facing falling numbers.

“No one is ever in a good place to absorb something that is going to triple the cost,” he added.

Relief

Relief for rural businesses was also set to increase but this will apply to the only shop, pub or service station in a village.

Mr Shirley said while local authorities could increase its scope ‘most are hungry for the rate income’.

He added those who appealed would have to pay the rates while the appeal went through, which would take over a year.

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