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Call for ‘living business rents’ to stop small Shoreditch firms being pushed out by the City

PUBLISHED: 15:11 17 July 2017

Mayor Phil Granville: 'Small businesses play a crucial role in our high streets'. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mayor Phil Granville: 'Small businesses play a crucial role in our high streets'. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Living business rents like the London “living wage” could be used in the war to stop small firms being pushed out by big corporate companies encroaching from the City.

'We want living commercial rents like the London living wage': East End Trades Guild organiser Krissie Nicolson. Picture: Mike Brooke'We want living commercial rents like the London living wage': East End Trades Guild organiser Krissie Nicolson. Picture: Mike Brooke

That was the revolutionary idea put forward by the East End Trades Guild at its Bastille Day commemoration to mark a year of successful government lobbying for capping business rates.

Many of the guild’s 200 members running shops and small enterprises in “City Fringe” neighbourhoods face crippling rent rises.

“The Mayor of London has introduced a ‘London Living Rent’ following the London Living Wage. We want something similar on commercial rents,” the guild’s founding organiser Krissie Nicolson told the Gazette at the Bastille Day event, in St Leonard’s Church.

“The East End has strong links to France, back to the 20,000 Huguenot refugees in the 17th century. This has always been a place that stirs people to action and social reform.

“We had 11,000 names on our Downing Street petition before the budget which played a critical role in the growing uproar up and down the country about unfair rents and rates revaluations.”

"The Mayor of London has introduced a ‘London Living Rent’ following the London Living Wage. We want something similar on commercial rents"

Krissie Nicolson

Hackney Council has identified 550 small firms that could be eligible for rates relief grants being dished out to local authorities, the meeting heard.

Mayor Phil Granville told the meeting: “We will fight the corner for small businesses, which play a crucial role that is fundamental to our high streets and town centres, to thrive and create aspiration and job opportunities in our community.”

He joined neighbouring Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs campaigning to make sure the Bishopsgate and Hackney Wick developments “lock in” affordable business space where diverse start-ups can flourish.

Businesses losing premises by the Hackney Wick redevelopment were being offered council property to get them through the transition. Hackney is also launching its “Landing Pad” website in the autumn which can help entrepreneurs set up for the first time.

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