Help us cut business tax for Hartlepool firms

SALON OWNER:  Anna Campbell
SALON OWNER: Anna Campbell

THE Mail is demanding the Government launches a complete overhaul of the business ratings system, an outdated formula which is crippling our High Streets.

We are joining forces with hundreds of our sister Johnston Press titles, as well as the British Independent Retailers Association, to demand business rates are frozen immediately and an urgent review of the system is conducted.

And we are asking you the reader to sign our online petition which urges the Government to think again about an unfair tax which has been increased by nearly £700m in the past three years, leaving traders with the highest property tax bills in Europe. Westminster’s Business Innovation and Rates Committee has looked at the issue of business rates and reported its findings in March, describing the business rates system as not fit for purpose’ and in need of reform.

The committee called for a wholesale review including whether taxes should be based on sales rather than the rateable value of a property; whether retail needs its own system of business taxation; and how frequently revaluations should take place. In the interim, the committee called for a six-month business rates amnesty for businesses occupying empty properties.

The Government was due to carry out a revaluation in 2015, but this has been put back to 2017 and beyond.

It has made no serious or firm commitment to a fundamental review of this damaging tax. Now, The Mail is calling for readers to get behind our Shop Local campaign, which calls upon the Government to do the right thing for our small, independent traders.

Ashley Highfield, CEO of Johnston Press, said: “Supporting communities - and the small businesses within them - is at the heart of what we do.

“We pride ourselves on the long-standing relationships we have in so many cities, towns, villages and hamlets where we are the trusted provider of local news and information services.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of their communities and this campaign is aimed at helping them to survive in an ever more challenging environment.”

•Sign the petition and share with friends and family to spread the word.