Fighting for businesses

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To set the record straight, St Edmundsbury does not set, or keep, business rates. The council simply collects them on behalf of central Government, who sets the rates and takes the income from them.

That said, we were saddened to see that Charlotte West has closed her shop, Millie, not least because St Edmundsbury works very hard with local businesses to support them wherever we can. For example, we encourage our business owners to contact us as early as possible to see whether there are any discounts we can help them apply for or, if they are struggling to pay their business rates, if we can arrange a more flexible payment plan.

Moreover, and while we do not set or keep business rates, we are lobbying central Government to make the current regime less onerous for our local traders, start-ups and entrepreneurs; and we’re working in partnership with some of our local businesses to do more of this. Our economic development team is also always ready to help by advising anyone wanting to start a business.

Although there is always much more to do, the council has been commended for its work with, and on behalf of, our local businesses. We do recognise times are hard and will continue to do all we can to support businesses, and our residents, not least by freezing Council Tax yet again (indeed for the third time in four years).

Cllr John Griffiths,

Leader, St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

n It was quite heartwarming to read of so much support for the enterprising young lady (Charlotte West) who has been forced to ‘shut up shop’ due to the unbelievable increase in the rates demand for her little shop.

As you walk around Bury you come across too many closed shops, some of which had the backing of ‘household names’ behind them. So what chance has this young person with the drive and initiative to ‘set up her stall’ on her own got, when faced with such impossible overheads?

Each and every one of these closed up premises represents money lost to the Government. In the present economic climate there couldn’t be a better time to adopt a ‘half a sixpence being better than none’.

Brian Davies,

St Olaves Road,

Bury St Edmunds.