LIVE: Chancellor's autumn statement - Bolton firms say business rate freeze is ‘too little, too late’
COMPANY bosses in Bolton have said the expected freeze in business rates — set to be announced by the government today — is too little, too late.
Chancellor George was expected to confirm in the Autumn Statement that rates will be capped at two per cent instead of being linked to inflation.
But some leading figures in the local business community and the leader of Bolton Council Cliff Morris said the freeze was “too little, too late”.
Cllr Morris, pictured, said: “Business have gone through a very difficult recession, and I don’t think there should’ve been a rise at all.
“It should have been zero per cent. Their rates have been calculated on criteria set before the recession started, so I think even two per cent is unfair.”
Cllr Morris’s comments were echoed by the owner of World of Wicker, Roy Wallis.
Mr Wallis said he is moving his cane furniture business from its town centre base in Manchester Road to new accommodation at Falcon Mill in Halliwell — reopening on December 27 — specifically because of a £32,000 business rates bill.
He said: “It is certainly too little, too late. Over the past 25 years I have paid a fortune. Even two per cent is too much. The reason why are having to move to different premises is because we are paying too much.” Chairman and founder of Travel Counsellors in Churchgate, David Speakman, said rises in business rates prevented companies sharing their profits with the wider local economy.
He said: “As a business you want to make money for your employees, not for the government who can then flush it down the toilet.
“Taxes like this are an unnecessary evil.
“The more tax a business pays, the less you can pay in salaries, it’s as simple as that.”
Managing director John Wilkins, of Bolton-based national floor screeding contractor JCW, at the Waters Meeting Development in Britannia Way agreed that business rates were cutting into his company’s profits. He said: “We are on a private industrial estate, yet we still pay £60,000 a year.
“To be honest, I don’t know what we get for our money. All business rates do is cut into our profits.”
Business rates had been set to rise by 3.2 per cent, based on September’s retail prices inflation rate, before today’s announcement.
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