Traders face massive rate rises

RECESSION-hit traders are facing rate hikes of up to 25 per cent which could force many out of business it is warned.

RECESSION-hit traders are facing rate hikes of up to 25 per cent which could force many out of business it is warned.

Business leaders in Suffolk have told how small enterprises are being hit especially hard by this year's business rate hike of five pc - which coincides with the end of a four-year transitional rate relief scheme, which had softened the blow of previous increases.

It means some firms will get rate bills way above the basic five pc rise set by Government and this has triggered fears that some traders will struggle to cope with the extra costs.

Suffolk's Federation of Small Business has called on the Government to halt its planned business rate hikes claiming they were set before the onset of the recession which is hitting many traders.

Chris Soule, chairman of the Suffolk branch of the Federation of Small Businesses and vice chairman of the East Anglian FSB branch, said: “One thing we are doing is encouraging all business to claim small business rate relief. It reduces rates by a half, but only a half of businesses claim it.”

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “Business rates are adjusted each year to take account of inflation in the previous September - this is a consistent approach since the introduction of business rates in 1990.”

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He said the Government's pre-budget report included a package of measures to help small business including a cut in the main rate of VAT to 15 pc and free business health checks.