Felixstowe: Businessman calls for more help for small traders

FELIXSTOWE: A trader is calling on the government to do more to help small businesses get through the recession amid fears that his shop could be forced to close.

Stephen Flynn, who runs Flynnstar Bicycles in Cobbold Road, Felixstowe, owes �4,000 to the tax man and says he wants to pay, but is not being offered any help.

“They have been here and told me they will take my van and some of my stock and sell it at auction to pay some of the tax – they will get peanuts for it compared to what it’s worth,” said Mr Flynn.

“All I owe is a measly �4,000.

“If I was a bank the government would be paying me millions of pounds to stay open.

“I want to pay my way and pay my taxes, but at the moment the recession has hit my business and it has become very difficult.

“If I don’t pay my rent, I don’t have a shop, and if I don’t pay my suppliers I don’t have goods to sell to make money to pay the taxes.

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“My business is my life and I love it, and I am desperate to survive this recession.

“I am certain there must be lots of other business in the same situation.

“I think the government should be doing more to help us through it – small businesses like ours are the lifeblood of the community, providing services for people.”

Mr Flynn, 48, set up Flynnstar Cycles 13 years ago and has a loyal customer base. While cycles and accessories are not selling so well at the moment, his repair work is flooding in, but it is not enough to pay the bills.

A spokeswoman for the Inland Revenue said the service was unable to comment on issues regarding individual taxpayers for reasons of confidentiality.

“However, we will continue to offer a sympathetic ear to businesses – and individuals – in temporary financial difficulty and will continue to offer this service as part of our time to pay arrangements for as long as it is needed,” she said.

“If individuals or businesses can’t pay what they owe, the most important thing is to contact HMRC straight away – things never get better by being left or when HMRC notices to pay are ignored.

“The sooner people contact us, the sooner we can begin working with them to find a solution

“A time to pay arrangement is agreed on a case by case basis, the average length is three months and there are no upper or lower time limits for a time to pay arrangement.”

? Is your business suffering similar problems? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk