I was dismayed to read in recent copies of The Telegraph (7 August) and Yorkshire Post contentious plans from the Communities and Local Government Committee to allow councils to levy a supplementary rate of tax of up to 10%.
It is completely unacceptable that government should seek to pass on costs to businesses for infrastructure improvements that should be funded centrally. Since the Unified Business Rate was set centrally, the rate of increase has at least been restricted to annual inflation rates. Further revenue is gained via the rating system, due to rate revaluations held every five years. For high street shops this has been very significant, due to escalating rents as property values are chased ever-higher.
There is comment on business having representation but, in practice, people running businesses do not have the time to haggle with local councils, who have endless hair-brained schemes to dispose of our hard-earned money.
How can any benefit to retailers be measured? It will simply be just another tax on our businesses. This proposal, if allowed to proceed, will further add to the demise of the high street with small and medium-sized retailers still reeling from the effect of high rents, increases in minimum wages, energy costs and regulation.
We need the National Association of Master Bakers and all other small shop associations to lobby hard against these measures, including the All-Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group, chaired by Jim Dowd MP in the House of Commons.