Some small Sidmouth businesses will be hit hard by changes say owners
PUBLISHED: 19:38 17 March 2017 | UPDATED: 13:19 21 March 2017
Small business owners in Sidmouth are appealing for help after being hit by new business rates – caused because they are in larger premises.
Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in the budget last week that small businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or less would pay nothing in business rates from April.
The changes affect Sharon Hobson of Flutterbys and Sidmouth Wine’s Natalie Bowditch, whose businesses will not qualify for small business rate relief because their rateable value is just over the threshold.
The pair said this equates to paying more than £800 a month, an annual rise of eight per cent.
Rateable value is an estimation of the open market rental by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).
Sharon, who has owned Flutterbys for nearly five years, said: “We are really pleased for the people that have had that relief but we need some help getting through with the present climate and having an eight per cent increase.
“They [the Government] have helped a lot of people, but because we are in a bigger property we are not going to get any help.
“We’re trying to support the local economy and it’s getting thrown back in our faces.
“It’s only for small businesses in small properties. It’s putting the boot into the likes of us.
“We’re going up eight per cent along with the big businesses.
“I’m a growing business and I’m employing five members of part-time staff. I’m trying to grow it and things like this happen.
“I feel like I’m being squeezed out like a spot.”
Natalie, who owns Sidmouth Wines with her partner Matthew Collings, added: “We are doing all the best we can to support the local economy. We live here, we work here and we love Sidmouth.
“They are not looking long term. If we have to leave at the end of our lease then they won’t be getting anything from the property.”
Also in the announcement, councils will receive part of a £300million fund to allow them to provide businesses with discretionary relief.
An East Devon District Council spokesman said: “Some businesses that pay their rates over 10 months may be unaware that they can spread the cost over 12 months (April to March). If businesses want to change to paying over 12 months then they need to get in touch with the council.
“We’re currently waiting for more details about additional funding to be provided by the Government. Once we have more information then we will ensure that those businesses that can directly benefit from this are notified.”