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Entrepreneurs Panel

Steve Purdham
Julie Meyer
Laura Tenison
Brian Hay
Jennie Johnson
Debbie Pierce
Charlie Mullins
Tony Caldeira
Jeremy Roberts
David Pollock
Michael Oliver
Richard O'Sullivan

Business rates "killing the high street"

Business rates are crushing small businesses and are killing the high street, John Allan, national chairman of Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has said.

He made the comments following the release of a report conducted by the FSB which revealed that seven per cent of small firms are paying more in business rates than in rent.

Of the 2,500 businesses that participated in the survey, 20 per cent said they said that they pay full rates, while six per cent said that their rates and rent costs are about the same.

Allan described the current business rate system as "outdated and unfair" and said that businesses will be continued to be lost if changes aren't made.

He added, "The current rating system is a blunt tool for maintaining the Government's income even when everyone else's is shrinking.

"It takes no account of ability to pay, or changes to economic conditions. It is based on rental values but only adjusts its valuation assumptions every five years.

"Its treatment of empty property is tantamount to a tax on no income, and it continues to use RPI for annual tax increases because it is normally above the Governments official measure of inflation, CPI. The FSB wants to see a level playing field for all business."

Allan called for a major overhaul of the system and said that the Government needs to talk to firms about what changes could be made.

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