Council lobbies for business rates reduction
West Oxfordshire District Council is lobbying Central Government over plans to increase business rates by 5% from 1st April 2009. Business rate increases are set by Central Government and they are collected on their behalf by local councils.
Cllr Barry Norton, Leader of West Oxfordshire District Council, has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer asking the Government to defer the planned increase.
Cllr Norton said, “The 5% increase set by Central Government is linked to September 2008’s inflation figure, but the economy has changed drastically since then. We are urging the Government to reconsider the increase as it will hit businesses already struggling to pay business rates and when they can least afford it. If it had been linked to December 2008’s inflation figure it would be 0.9%. Many businesses think that the District Council is imposing this increase, but that is simply not the case.”
Barry Wheatley, Chairman of the Oxfordshire Branch of the Federation of Small Businesses said, “We wholeheartedly support West Oxfordshire’s request to the Government to reconsider this increase. Businesses are going through hard times at the moment and need all the help they can get. We realise that the Council will have no choice but to levy whatever rate the Government sets, but we applaud their efforts to lobby on behalf of the local business community.”
Cllr Warwick Robinson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Economic Development said, “In these difficult times businesses need all the help they can get and as well as lobbying on behalf of businesses, the Council is urging them to apply for any business rate relief they may be eligible for. Further information about small business rate relief is available on the Council’s website: www.westoxon.gov.uk/business.
“Small businesses operating from premises with a rateable value of less than £10,000 may be eligible for rate relief. We urge them to check and apply if they are not already claiming their relief.
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