On Friday 10th November, Purley business owners and residents gathered together in the town centre to protest about the 48% business rates rise affecting Purley.
They were joined by members of the Purley Business Improvement District (BID) and local dignitaries including Chris Philp MP Croydon South; Councillor Mark Watson Cabinet Member for Economy & Jobs; Steve O’Connell GLA Member for Croydon & Sutton; and Brian Woods Regional Chairman of FSB.
Even with the business rates relief offered by the government, businesses in Purley are being affected at such a level that many cannot see how they can survive such an increase.
The rates relief and local discretionary relief are seen only as a temporary measure as the full increase amount will still be payable after four years. Increases in the UK mainly affected London with Croydon Borough being affected by an average 19% increase. No borough had an average rise as great as the average 48% of Purley
Brian Woods is promoting their ‘Business Rates Revaluation in London’ document looking at the impact on London’s micro, small and medium sized business.
Brian Woods said: “The FSB have provided a strong proposal on how to work towards fixing this broken system. Our review shows short medium and long-term recommendations to assist the business community. These are well thought out and look to gain the support of our local politicians to get these proposals adopted. Short term the capping is only a temporary fix, businesses will still fall off the cliff in a couple of years. The Threshold needs to raise to £20,000 and to increase the amount of discretionary relief available to local government.
“Medium term we need to up VOA resource to manage assessments and unresolved appeals. And in the long term there needs to be a major review, link with ability to pay and take into consideration online sales.”
Croydon South MP, Chris Philp, who addressed the crowd that attended the protest said: “We appreciate that the business rating system is antiquated and is now not fit for purpose, we plan to make changes to create a fairer system and will take on board the proposals from the Federation of Small Businesses. More pressing to the businesses of Purley is the bills they have already been served. Looking at the figures provided by Purley BID it certainly looks like the rates are calculated too high and need to be readdressed to a lower level closer to the rental amount. I will be taking this to the VOA with the aim of lowering the rating amount calculated per square metre.”