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Boris lets small firms off the hook from Crossrail business rate

PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:32 05 October 2010

SMALL firms are breathing a sigh of relief they won’t be slapped with a special rate to help pay towards the £16bn Crossrail. Boris Johnson is letting them off the hook by raising the thresh-hold for his controversial Supplementary Business Rate

By Mike Brooke

SMALL firms are breathing a sigh of relief that they won’t be slapped with a special business rate to help pay towards Crossrail.

Commercial enterprises along the route of London’s new super tube’ linking Canary Wharf, the City and West End with Heathrow are being tapped by City Hall for a contribution towards the £16 billion project.

But Boris Johnson has decided to let small firms off the hook by increasing the thresh-hold for his controversial Supplementary Rate aimed at raising £219 million from trade and industry.

“In these difficult times the additional business rate will be a greater burden to our smaller businesses,” he said.

“Our proposals now set the right balance by exempting 4,000 firms that faced a disproportionate burden to those larger organisations that will benefit from Crossrail and should pay the greatest share of construction costs.”

The Mayor’s move has been welcomed today by the Federation of Small Businesses and the London Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re pleased the Mayor has listened,” said the Federation’s Sue Terpilowski. “We had urged him to raise only as much as he needed from the business community to fund its share of Crossrail.

The London Chamber’s chief Colin Stanbridge said: “It is important smaller companies are not subject to unnecessary or excessive financial burdens just as we are emerging from the recession.”

The Crossrail Supplementary Rate now only applies to businesses with rateable values above £55,000.

Half the cost in the first five years is to be met by businesses in Canary Wharf, the City and West End. But Boris also wants to widen the net and catch businesses further out on the fringe of Greater London.

The line now under construction is being pushed eastward from Canary Wharf out to Abbey Wood with a second branch from Whitechapel out to Stratford and Shenfield, while its westward branches from Paddington will reach Heathrow and Maidenhead, ready to open in 2017.


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