MELFORD CO10 9JL 2020 Pt II.
Towards the end of last year and before the General Election I spoke with our South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge in our Long Melford shop about business rates. Of course James went on to be re-elected along with Boris Johnson as the Conservative Party gained a huge majority in governing the country. See the link at the bottom of the page for the interview.
2020 is an interesting year. Now we have officially left the EU the optimism in the country has risen as that dark cloud seemingly begins to break up. However as I eluded too in my previous post for Melford and retail businesses across the country we are literally facing a daily battle to remain in business.
Putting aside individual specific cases, as for sure there are matters of ‘natural attrition’, business rates effect ‘all’ bricks and mortar retail.
At a basic level business rates are like any other operational cost for a business. They affect the bottom line and validity of the business. Any business plan must factor them in or you do not have a business.
However, the emotive aspect of business rates is that they are an enigma and do not represent investment. Yet for most are one of the top 3 costs within the business.
AN enigma because they is no equitable method of charging these costs? It varies greatly depending.
They are out of date in most cases. Premiums on the base rates according to area, irrespective. Rate-able values etc. Did you know that Long Melford businesses are dis proportionally charged a higher ‘level’ of business rate (compared to other neighbouring towns) for being I quote “Melford”?? Unlike council tax we receive no breakdown of where the money is spent, so we see no return. IN fact generally the past years it seems there is no return. It is broadly speaking daylight robbery.
Secondly, an enigma because against new competitors mostly based on-line who are exempt from business rates, margins for bricks and mortar traders are squeezed tighter. Yet this is not challenged. The broad effect of online trading cannot go on unchallenged any further. Consumers must have choice – online or bricks and mortar but the field must be levelled.
This comes after the Conservatives pledged to reduce business rates for small retailers and “overlooked and left behind” town centres by increasing the business rate discount available to smaller firms from 33 per cent to 50 per cent in 2020-2021.
The Conservative Party committed to implementing a digital service tax on the revenue of companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon in its blueprint for winning last year’s national election. Under the plan, tech companies that generate at least 500 million pounds($640 million) a year in global revenue will pay a levy of 2% of the money they make from UK users from April 2020.
We wait to see.