Tax rise a concern for Rugby town centre shops - The Rugby Observer

Tax rise a concern for Rugby town centre shops

Rugby Editorial 10th Mar, 2016 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

TOWN centre businesses received a shock when over £1,500 was added to their tax bill for the coming year – because a Government scheme to help reduce rates is coming to an end.

A worried shopkeeper told the Observer he was cancelling plans to buy his café after the hefty bill landed on his doormat.

It came because the Retail Rates Relief Scheme – brought in two years ago to help re-generate town centres – is being discontinued as of April.

Muji Miandihi of Café Vita in High Street said: “I’m not going to invest money in Rugby town centre.




“I wanted to buy my shop – they had accepted my offer and my deposit was ready. Now I am going to have to cancel.”

Muji – whose £11,000 annual rate bill is now £1,000 more expensive than his rent – said he had to change his prices just to cope, but can’t put them up too high for fear of losing customers.


“These days it’s difficult to survive and pay your bills on time, and then on top of this our rates go up,” he said. “They say it’s because business has improved.

“But I can prove business has gone down. All business is going to the new shopping centre at Elliott’s Field.”

Aftab Gaffar of town centre management company Rugby First said it was disappointing news.

He said: “The relief has made a difference, particularly for independent businesses. This is frustrating for them and creates uncertainty as they have to find ways to make up the difference.

“The Chancellor has promised a business rates review in 2016; I hope it brings respite to businesses that pay more in rates than rent – which cannot be right.”

Rugby MP Mark Pawsey acknowledged recent years had been tough for town centres – and said he discussed the matter with Small Business Minister Anna Soubry during her visit to Rugby last week.

He said: “The Minister remarked how attractive our town centre is and highlighted the action the Government has taken to support the High Street and small businesses, such as the cut in corporation tax, help with business rates and the Employment Allowance.

“With the Chancellor due to announce his Budget next week, I am hopeful that further assistance can be offered to our High Streets, to build on the support of previous initiatives such as the Retail Rates Relief Scheme.”

Town centre retailers with rateable values above £8,250 will see their bills increase from April 1.

Rugby Borough Council economy spokeswoman Coun Heather Timms said the council offered a range of discretionary rate relief schemes.

She said: “All business rate bills contain information about the available rate relief, but I’d urge any business which needs help or advice to contact our revenues team at [email protected] or on (01788) 533498.”

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