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Victory or disappointment? Hackney's reaction to Chancellor's business rates concessions

PUBLISHED: 17:36 08 March 2017 | UPDATED: 18:01 08 March 2017

Len Maloney, Meg Hillier MP, Mayor Biggs, Sarah Haque, Paul Gardner, Mayor Glanville handing in the rates petition at 10 Downing Street

Len Maloney, Meg Hillier MP, Mayor Biggs, Sarah Haque, Paul Gardner, Mayor Glanville handing in the rates petition at 10 Downing Street

hackney council

The woman who helped run the local campaign against the government's rates hike has hailed this afternoon's budget as a victory for small businesses - but Hackney's Mayor is concerned his concessions might not offer any "meaningful support".

Meg Hillier MP, Len Maloney, Philip Glanville handing in the rates petition at 10 Downing StreetMeg Hillier MP, Len Maloney, Philip Glanville handing in the rates petition at 10 Downing Street

A delegation of politicians and independent traders handed in a petition to 10 Downing Street yesterday, organised by Hackney Council and the East End Trades Guild. 
It had over 10,000 signatures calling on the government to provide more support for businesses facing huge rate hikes next month.

If the current proposals were not changed they warned, more than 370 businesses in Hackney would face a rise of between £10,000 and £100,000 because of a revaluation based on property prices – which have more than doubled in parts of London.

Demands were made for the government to increase rates relief for small businesses and for the introduction of a new relief system for medium businesses.

They also called for London’s business rates to be set by City Hall to “better suit the challenges of the capital”.

Krissie Nicholson, the founder of the East End Trades Guild said business owners “should be incredibly proud of themselves” for drumming up so many signatures for the petition.

“We are still waiting for the details so we can’t be completely sure, but generally speaking our asks are going to be met,” she told the Gazette this afternoon.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced this afternoon that any business coming out of small business rate relief will benefit from an extra cap - meaning their rates will not increase by more than £50 a month.

In addition he said £300m fund will be made available to councils to allow them to provide discretionary relief, and said a deal has been agreed with the Mayor of London to devolve further powers.

But Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville is disappointed Hammond didn’t raise the threshold for rates relief in London.

“The extra money allocated to councils for discretional support will far from cover the spiralling bills in areas disproportionately affected like Hackney,” he said.

“It’s not clear whether the measures announced will offer any meaningful support to the thousands of businesses which are facing huge rates hikes, simply by virtue of their postcode and with no regard to their history, what they sell, who they serve and the impact on local communities.

“The detail and process of these polices need to be made clear immediately so councils and local business can begin to properly plan.”

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