South Bank BID has campaigned against the Government’s plan to introduce steep rises in business rates, which kick in tomorrow. The neighbourhood will see some of the steepest rises in London, as both Lambeth and Southwark have been hit hard by the impact of the 2017 Revaluation.
In his recent budget, the Chancellor agreed to soften the blow of these rises through a package of support. He also committed to look at the overhaul of a tax system that we believe is increasingly out of step with the London economy and business realities.
As a result, both Lambeth and Southwark councils are set to receive additional funding to support businesses facing rates rises in 2017/18 – in Lambeth’s case around £3m. This is a relatively small amount compared to the total increase in the business rates bill across both boroughs. But, if well-targeted, it could help to keep key South Bank businesses operating and contributing to the overall vibrancy of the neighbourhood.
Central Government is currently consulting with local authorities on how this “Hardship Fund” will work, before it finally decides on how the money will be distributed nationally. The consultation period ends on 7 April, and we understand that a final plan will be in place by mid-May.
Both councils are considering different options of how a scheme can best support local businesses. We would encourage those South Bank BID members that are facing steep rises in their business rates to register their interest in discretionary support. Lambeth has provided an on-line form to do this, click here.
We are emphasising to both councils the importance of South Bank’s businesses, their value to Lambeth and Southwark, and the vital contribution they make to London’s economy.
As always, we are ready to help any South Bank BID member in understanding the impact of the rises in business rates, and to ensure that the BID continues to deliver important services that offer real value to our business community. Do get in touch – you can contact us at: BID@southbanklondon.com