Local firms ‘taxed to hilt’ by rigged rates revaluation

Greenwich Conservatives this week express concern at new figures showing that John Prescott’s business rates revaluation has hiked taxes on local firms by £1.2 billion a year across the country, pushing up the average firm’s bill by 3 times the rate of inflation.

In Greenwich, the average bill paid by local firms has risen this year by 8%  to £9,163 a year. This is despite Government claims that the rates revaluation would be ‘revenue neutral’. Almost 2 million businesses across England were sent revised rates bills this April.

Business rates, like council tax, are being used as a stealth tax. Thanks to John Prescott’s rigged rates revaluation, local firms are being taxed to the hilt. This money will not be kept by the council, but ultimately, will be snatched back by Gordon Brown. We are concerned that higher taxes on local firms will damage the economy and increase prices in shops.

Business rates are the third largest item of expenditure for many firms after wages and rent. Conservatives have identified a number of ‘stealth’ changes being used to hike business rates including:
• Relief to cushion large rises is no longer subsidised by central government.
• Higher business rates this year for medium and large firms.
• Low take-up of small business rate relief – half of all small firms are losing out.