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Bromley businesses 'at risk of folding due to £76 million rates rise'

PUBLISHED: 11:52 30 November 2016

Manager of Bromley BID Frances Forrest

Manager of Bromley BID Frances Forrest

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Firms have been urged to check their new tax assessments to see if there is scope for an appeal

Businesses in Bromley are at risk of insolvency due to a rates increase that could cost a whopping £76 million.

The government’s last rates valuation was in 2010, and since then the rental values used to calculate business rates in the borough have risen by nearly £36 million.

As a result, 7,274 firms face an increased tax bill of £76,442,389 in total over the next five years.

Bromley Business Improvement District manager Frances Forrest told the Bromley Times the rise could be enough to put some firms out of business.

“We are very concerned about the enormous burden that the proposed increase in business rates will have on Bromley town centre businesses,” she said.

“Some businesses may not survive an increase of business rates.

“We want businesses to thrive and the vibrancy of Bromley town centre to continue growing.

“Business rates are an outdated tax needing review and reform.”

Rates are normally set by the government every five years and are collected by the local authority, with the council able to retain up to half of the total sum.

Relief for small businesses was introduced in 2005, and the government has pledged to ensure the smallest pay no rates at all from April 2017.

But Mark Rigby, chief executive of ratings specialists CVS, which calculated the projected increases, said London would bear the brunt of the new rates.

“Businesses in Bromley have just six months to prepare for this astronomical extra burden, so it is essential that they consider a thorough check of their new tax assessment as there may well be scope for an appeal,” he said.

A council spokesperson commented: “London Councils, on behalf of all London Boroughs including Bromley, has expressed concern regarding the potential impact that the revaluation will have on London, arguing that the current valuation system is unsustainable.

“We are lobbying for a decoupling of London’s valuations from the national system and for greater control over the setting of business rates.”

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