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Business Rates petition protest launched by east London small traders and two mayors

PUBLISHED: 11:24 22 February 2017 | UPDATED: 13:59 22 February 2017

Mayor Biggs warning to Prime Minister over Buisiness Rate hike

Mayor Biggs warning to Prime Minister over Buisiness Rate hike

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A petition calling on the government to stop the planned rise in Business Rate has been set up by traders and two local authorities in east London.

Krissie Nicolson chairs East End Trades Guild 2013 steering meeting at Bishopsgate InstituteKrissie Nicolson chairs East End Trades Guild 2013 steering meeting at Bishopsgate Institute

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets is urging the public and businesses to add their voice to the petition jointly launched online with East End Trades Guild and neighbouring Hackney Council.

It warns Theresa May’s government the planned hike in Business Rates could force firms to close and urges a rethink.

“Many traders are concerned about the decision to make huge rises to local business rates,” Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs told the East London Advertiser.

Mayor John Biggs move to stop housing sell-offMayor John Biggs move to stop housing sell-off

“We’re calling on the government to think again and to postpone any rises until a fairer system of relief for small and medium-size businesses is introduced—and to give London the power to set its own rates.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy and are highly valued by the community.”

Independent shops and businesses are already under pressure in east London from developers and “corporate encroachment” pushing up rents, especially in City Fringe areas like Spitalfields and Shoreditch that led to setting up the East End Trades Guild just two years ago to protect livelihoods and the unique neighbourhood economies.

Standing firm... East End Trades Guild's 2015 launch at SpitalfieldsStanding firm... East End Trades Guild's 2015 launch at Spitalfields

The Business Rates petition with 3,000 signatures so far highlights the impact on independent businesses and calls on Westminster to stop the new valuations until they have committed to increasing the rates relief for small businesses and introduced a relief system for medium businesses.

It also calls for devolving the operation and setting of London’s business rates to the GLA which Mayor Biggs—former London Assembly budget chairman—says is “better suited to meet the challenges in London”.

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