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Islington Chamber of Commerce petitions Philip Hammond to rethink business rates

PUBLISHED: 14:15 24 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:58 31 October 2018

Cllr Asima Shaikh, Islington Council's executive member for inclusive economy and jobs, left, and Hak Huseyin, chair of Islington Chamber of Commerce, with the petition to Philip Hammond. Picture: Islington Council

Cllr Asima Shaikh, Islington Council's executive member for inclusive economy and jobs, left, and Hak Huseyin, chair of Islington Chamber of Commerce, with the petition to Philip Hammond. Picture: Islington Council

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Islington Council is backing businsses in their "save our shops" campaign, which calls on the chancellor to slash business rates for the borough's smallest firms.

Philip Hammond will deliver his annual budget on Monday – and Islington’s Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is urging the government to increase the threshold for Small Business Rates Relief from £12,000 to £20,000 for inner London.

This request, which is backed by the council, could see some 850 small businesses in Islington save about £4,000 a year.

The ICC petition also calls for a “fundamental review of the rates system” and demands multinational online businesses pay their fair share.

Chair Hak Huseyin said: “The changes within our town centres have already started, with businesses closing, job losses – and the real impact will come [after] this April’s rates bill, when the additional funds set aside to assist run out.

“Our town centres provide local employment as well as a real community hub.

“National government need to know the impact of their new system is seriously damaging businesses and the local community.”

Last year the government hiked rateable values – the amount a trader pays in rent for their premise – and Islington firms experiences the third highest increase in England.

More than 200 businesses in the borough have closed in the past 18 months.

Cllr Asima Shaikh, Islington’s jobs and economy boss, said: “Small businesses are at the heart of our community, creating jobs and opportunities, but many have been hit hard following the government’s increases in rateable values.

“We’re strongly supporting this call for the government to increase the threshold for Small Business Rates Relief – it would make a huge difference to Islington’s smallest businesses.”

Nic Sharpe, who runs St John’s Tavern in Archway, was hit with rates rise of more than £20,000 last year– from £26,000 to £48,000.

He told the Gazette last year: “I work really hard. The building was a sh*t hole when I came here 18 years ago.

“Now it’s one of the leading architectural buildings in the area.

“All you do is try to do things well and you get penalised. It makes you think: ‘What’s the point of all this?’”

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