I AM amazed that our Labour government should even be considering bumping up the business rate at a time when businesses, especially small businesses, are desperately struggling to survive this recession.
We are told that the increase may be as high as five per cent, which would be simply disastrous.
The problem stems from the fact that the business rate will be based on figures from last September, but we can all see quite clearly that things have seriously deteriorated since then, and surely a little bit of common sense should be enough to stop this.
As a local council candidate I have spoken to local businesses, who continue to believe that business rates are set by their local councils. I have to explain over and over again that in fact although the local authorities are required to collect this tax, it is central government which actually sets the rates each year.
Therefore I hope that all of us involved in local government will do all we can to urge the Government to think again about hitting businesses with a huge tax hike when they are already down and fighting to survive.
We need our local businesses to recover as soon as possible so that they can continue their vital role at the heart of our community.