London retailers are facing a new blow regarding business rates following rateable value changes for 2017, warned the NFRN.

In the spring budget, and following successful calls from the NFRN, Chancellor George Osborne announced that 600,000 small businesses would be exempt from paying business rates, adding that a “corner shop in Barnstaple, hairdressers in Leeds and newsagents in Nuneaton” would be paying no rates at all from April 2017.

However, following new valuations for business rates many NFRN members in London and the South East will see their rates increase by more than 20 per cent, which means they will not benefit from the relief proposed by Mr Osborne.

The new rating list has also revealed an inconsistency across the country, with northern retailers seeing a decrease in their rateable valuable while southerners, and in particular Londoners, will see significant increases.

The NFRN believes that revaluations of business rates and future rate thresholds must show fairness to London’s small business community, by fully considering the high costs of doing business in London. In addition, there needs to be consideration towards the benefit that business brings to the community in which they serve.

Unlike small businesses and start-ups that can pick and choose where they locate, many independent retailers have been serving their communities for decades.  Now, following these business rate revaluations they are faced with increasing costs of doing business and could be effectively priced out of their locations, depriving communities of their local convenience store.

The NFRN is now calling for an inner and outer London Small Business Rate Relief to compensate for the inconsistencies across the country. In inner London there should be a threshold of £20,000 rateable value for 100 per cent rate relief. In outer London the threshold for 100 per cent relief should be set at £16,000.

NFRN Chief Executive Paul Baxter said: For many smaller retailers there was much delight when the spring budget revealed that from April next year they would be paying no business rates at all. For many of those in the London area this has turned to dismay as the new business rate revaluations means they are no longer eligible.

“For that reason the NFRN will be calling on the new Chancellor, Philip Hammond, to create an increased inner and outer London Small Business Rate Relief threshold that will be fair on retailers working in the capital.”

The table below shows the inconsistencies with business rates in London compared to elsewhere in the country. All the examples are newsagents.

Location Rates Payable Square Metre of Shop Rates Per Square Metre
London, Canary Wharf £35,743 72.0m2 £496
£2,376 71.0m2 £33
Blackpool, St Annes £5,760 70.0m2 £82

NFRN and Jones Lang LaSalle Research into Business Rates Reform 2015

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