AN e-petition has been started to try to get the Government to rethink its biggest jump in business rates in 20 years.
St Edmundsbury Business Rates Forum is urging businesses and individuals to sign its Number 10 e-petition at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/31706
If they get more than 100,000 signatures, the issue must go before the House of Commons.
The forum, comprising representatives of business organisations and St Edmundsbury’s Economic Development Team, says that while it has been usual for business rate to be linked to the previous September’s inflation figure, legislation permits a lower figure. Inflation hit 5.6 per cent last September.
Andrew Denny, of Bury Chamber of Commerce, said: “On the one hand the Government is looking to business to provide new jobs and drive the country out of recession, yet on the other hand it imposes a hike in business rates.
“It is hypocritical of the Government to demand local authorities freeze domestic rates but at the same time increases business rates to swell Whitehall coffers.”
Mark Cordell, from Bid4Bury, argued: “The report from Mary Portas, commissioned by the Government, identified three key issues detrimentally affecting town centre businesses and one of these was the level of business rates.”
Calling on businesses to support the petition, Sara Mildmay-White, deputy leader of St Edmundsbury Council, said: “As a borough council we have frozen Council Tax for the past two years to help all St Edmundsbury’s residents and we are working to assist private sector growth. This campaign asks the Government to take a similar stance with business rates this year.”