‘Give us rates relief or we’re finished’ say Hackney’s independent traders

Baddeley Brothers Ltd Hackney. Chris Pertwee stands next to one of the machines in the print room

Baddeley Brothers Ltd Hackney. Chris Pertwee stands next to one of the machines in the print room - Credit: Archant

A last-ditch campaign has been launched to protect Hackney’s independent traders from a huge business rates hikes that will “tear the heart from the community”.

Len Maloney. Picture: Sarah Ainslie

Len Maloney. Picture: Sarah Ainslie - Credit: Archant

Thousands of companies are facing a huge rise in rates from April because rates have been revalued based on property prices.

Hackney has the second highest rateable value increase in the country at 46 per cent – and the most in the capital.

It means more than 370 businesses in Hackney could face a rise in their rates of between £10,000 and £100,000, with some facing an even greater hike.

To compound the situation, many firms previously classed as “small” will become “medium”, meaning they will not be eligible for small business rates relief.

A lot of them arrived in the borough before it was booming and helped make it what it is today.

But they could soon be faced with the difficult choice of leaving their client base and moving outside Hackney, or closing for good.

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So the town hall has joined forces with the East End Trades Guild and launched a petition calling on the government to postpone the hike and devolve the handling of rates to London’s government.

It also asks for a higher rates relief threshold for small businesses and a new relief system for medium businesses.

Krissie Nicolson, founder of the trades guild, said: “What government ministers don’t understand is small businesses are rooted within communities. They employ local people and keep money circulating in the economy.

“If they go, really, London has gone.”

So far, 1,500 people have signed the petition. That includes Charles Pertwee, director of Baddeley Brothers, a family-run stationery manufacturer that has been in the borough for 157 years. Its rateable value has risen from £60,000 to £156,000. “With this sort of increase, we’re talking people’s jobs,” said Charles. “It will make us consider whether Hackney is a viable location to continue a light manufacturing businesses.”

Another person to sign is Len Maloney, who runs JC Motors in Haggerston. The business works with a local charity to provide job opportunities and mentoring for young people, and will have to find another £10,000 a year in bills.

To sign the petition, click here.