Nidderdale’s Chamber of Trade has called on Theresa May to protect local businesses by going back to the drawing board over impending changes to business rates.
Businesses across the country are bracing for a rise in their annual bills with changes that could come into force on Saturday April, 1.
Amongst changes businesses will face updated valuations of commercial property, which the tax is partially based on, meaning a sharp increase in cost for some businesses after almost a decade of bills based on 2008 figures.
Now fears are growing locally over the potential damage that could be caused to small and medium businesses if proposals go ahead.
Chairman of Nidderdale Chamber of Trade, Keith Tordoff said: “The government have allowed this to get so close they may seem almost committed, but I think Theresa May should stand up and listen to what the response has been.
“I am asking her to be decisive and ask have we made this right and what can we do to allay the fears? Go back to the drawing board, it is still not too late.
“These changes could be disastrous, it will benefit out of town shops and not community based businesses that need to be protected.
“If not we will be left with empty shop fronts, we already face challenges from big businesses like Amazon on our high street, this is the last thing we need.”
Pateley Bridge’s high street was recently crowned the winner of the Great British High Street Awards.
The awards were part of government efforts to support high street regeneration across the country.
However concerns are now being raised that the rising costs will undermine such success.
Mr Tordoff said: “If it is to go ahead it could have a fairly rapid effect on businesses. When leases are up and businesses face an increase they will say I am leaving to go out of town or to focus on mail orders.”
On top of the rising rates businesses that attempt to appeal their increasing bills will also face a fee to do so.
Mr Tordoff said “They need to allay the fears of people, they should certainly not be facing a situation where they have to pay fees just to appeal their bills.
“It feels like they getting punished twice.
“But it is never too late to change and make an announcement that makes this right, keep existing rates the same for 12 months while new plans are developed.”
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