23 March 2017
In a letter to Policy, Resources and Growth Committee (23rd March)  Green Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty has called on the Council to develop a city-wide plan to protect businesses affected by ‘deeply worrying’ business rate increases.
The Greens have expressed concerns that the proposed re-evaluation of business rates announced in the Government’s Spring budget will disproportionately affect Brighton and Hove. Under the new proposals, a wide array of businesses, from pubs and retailers to schools with solar panels will be hit with a rising business cost. Brighton Pier is facing a 17% rise, the World’s End Pub 123%, some restaurants 100% and guest houses up to 400%. It is feared that rises will leave many local businesses struggling to stay open.
Councillor Mac Cafferty has urged the city Council to write to the Treasury, opposing the move and demanding greater rate relief and support for the city’s smaller businesses. The letter also urges the Council to develop a city-wide plan for how new business rates reform will be rolled out by Brighton and Hove City Council.
Councillor Mac Cafferty commented:
“From the bustling areas of the North Laine, Lanes and shops in my own ward of Brunswick and Adelaide, small independent businesses such as retailers and pubs make up the unique character of our city. I am deeply concerned that the proposed changes to business rates will see many of our small businesses battling to make ends meet. Especially worrying are those businesses which simply cannot pass on the cost of rate rises to their customers, such as charities and laundrettes.
“My letter calls upon the Council to act swiftly to address these changes. The ‘rate relief’ currently proposed by the Government does not go far enough, particularly for Brighton and Hove, and our businesses need assurances in these uncertain times. I want to see us develop a city-wide plan which shows how the reforms will be administered so that our local businesses can plan for the future. The Conservatives claim to be the party of business but with rate hikes and Brexit on the horizon, they are putting our local independent sector at risk. I hope the Labour group can agree we need strong opposition to protect public services, charities and small businesses.”