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Mike's Ilford Recorder column (23.02.2017)

Local businesses face huge rises in their business rates from April.

The official reason is that every five years the government Valuation Office conducts a revaluation of the rateable value of all public and private non-domestic properties, to reflect changes in the property market. But the way they have done it this time is not fair and is causing great worry.

For political reasons the Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition government postponed the planned revaluation in 2015 until 2017, based on 2015 values. So from April , rateable values will be altered to reflect changes over the seven years, 2008-15.

The Conservative government claim the revaluation is fair and overall will not cost any more. They say nationally 920,000 businesses will get a rate cut, 420,000 will stay the same and half a million will experience a rate rise. But most of those firms are based in London and the south-east.

London is the only region that is a net loser following the business rates revaluation. On average, London business rates increase by 11 per cent. In Redbridge, rates increase by 15pc on average.

Chancellor Philip Hammond should listen to the Federation of Small Businesses, use his Spring Budget to help Ilford businesses, and create a higher inner and outer London small business rate relief threshold.

Increasing the threshold o £15k in outer London and to £20k in inner London would cost around £100m. But this is just a small amount of the £28billion revenue derived from business rates nationwide.

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