29 June 2017
New Government proposals to increase ‘business rates,’ have caused alarm in Brighton and Hove, with fears that the rising costs will leave many local business struggling to stay open. Councillors have raised concerns that this will have disastrous effects for the city’s economy and tourism industry. Under new proposals, 43% of non-domestic properties, which includes pubs, schools and attractions such as the Pier could face an increase.
Following a set of proposals put forward by the Greens to yesterday’s Tourism, Development and Culture Committee, local traders and businesses will now be invited to respond to a consultation asking what more the Council can do to help.
Tourism, Development and Culture Spokesperson Councillor Tom Druitt, who put forward the proposals, commented:
"Businesses in Brighton & Hove have been hit by a double whammy of business uncertainty following Brexit and a massive hike in business rates, and it's the independent business sector that's been hit the hardest. As a result many of the local independent businesses that give our city its unique character are under threat. This backwards rate change is handed to us by central Government. But there is more the Council can do to engage with the business community and to help.
“I'm encouraged that colleagues on the Tourism, Development & Culture Committee yesterday supported our Green amendment to ensure the value of the independent business sector to our city is fully appreciated and full consultation on the Council's discretionary grant scheme will be taken over the summer months. I urge all businesses in the city to respond to the consultation and tell the Council what your business needs to thrive."
Setting of business rates is outside of the Council’s control, yet Greens have repeatedly called for greater assistance to be given to businesses facing rising costs.