Halt ‘devastating’ business rates hike until after Brexit, Islington tells government

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Islington’s business sector is fighting crippling 45 per cent rate hikes that would force hundreds of independent traders to shut up shop.

The borough’s companies are set to be hit with the third highest increase in the country on the back of Whitehall “reassessing” rateable values of commercial premises.

The rateable value is used to determine how much a company pays in business rates, but the move would simply see already struggling businesses close.

Now the chamber of commerce and the Angel Business Improvement District have launched a petition calling on Whitehall to freeze the huge hike until Britain leaves the EU.

The campaign, backed by the town hall, also urges the treasury to extend “transitional reliefs”, which would mean the increase is spread out, and increase the £12,000 threshold for rates relief.

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The town hall’s economy boss, Cllr Asima Shaikh, said: “The decision could have a devastating effect on the character of our community and force small and medium sized companies to close or move elsewhere.”

Hak Huseyin, Co-Vice Chair of the Islington Chamber of Commerce, said the increase couldn’t have come at a worse time. “One of Islington’s strengths is the diversity of the types of businesses and I am deeply concerned about the impact this will have,” he said. “We need the government to think again and freeze the rate rise.”

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Chief Exec of Angel’s BID, Christine Lovett, added: “The increase could drive out the very businesses who not only keep our town centres vibrant but employ Islington residents.”

The petition can be viewed here.

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