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New West End Company labels business rate changes 'catastrophic'

The New West End Company has labelled proposed changes to business rates ‘catastrophic’ and warned companies in the area would have little time to adjust to rate hikes of up to 80%.

A consultation into transitional relief opened yesterday ahead of planned changes to business rates in 2017. A spokesman for the company said: “The suggested options will not lighten the burden and retailer profits will be hit by up to 25% in a fragile post-Brexit economy, leading to reduced investment and job losses around the UK. We maintain that transitional relief should see any rate rise capped at 12.5%, which would significantly ease the impact of the rise for businesses during an uncertain time.

“The announcement is the latest challenge for businesses and retailers across the West End which contribute billions in tax and wealth to the entire UK, and have been denied measures that may have compensated for rising rates – such as extended Sunday trading hours. This consultation will hit these businesses at a critical time and hurt the future growth of Britain.”

As Drapers has reported earlier this week, business lobby groups including the British Retail Consortium, the British Property Federation and the Federation of Small Businesses have written to communities and local government secretary Sajid Javid over the plans, which they called ‘unjust.’

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