Tower Hamlets and Hackney mayors lead Downing Street traders’ protest

Mayor John Biggs and Business Rates petition organsiers delivering protest in Downing Street

Mayor John Biggs and Business Rates petition organsiers delivering protest in Downing Street - Credit: LBTH

A petition against hyping the Business Rate in tomorrow’s Budget has been delivered to 10 Downing Street today by small businesses in London’s East End who fear going to the wall.

The delegation from East End Trades Guild was led by Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs, along with the mayor of neighbouring Hackney, to hand in the protest with 10,000 signatures, urging the government to back down.

“These astronomical rises will cause untold harm to our high streets by punishing businesses in the East End,” he said.

“The Chancellor must understand the devastating impact these rises will have, forcing some businesses to close.

“We need the government to recognise the pain they’re inflicting and to suspend the rate rises until they’ve taken steps to protect small and medium businesses which are worse affected.”

The two mayors and the trades guild called on the Chancellor to use tomorrow’s Budget statement to freeze the start of the new business rates until further relief for small and medium sized businesses are introduced.

Paul Gardner, who owns Gardner’s Bags, one of the oldest family businesses in Spitalfields which has been in Commercial Street for four generations, has also been fighting rocketing rents being so close to The City—now having to deal with business rates shooting up as well.

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He said: “I’m hoping this petition makes a difference and the government thinks of a better way of setting business rates.

“We’ve been going since 1870—but now it’s the toughest of times for small businesses in the East End.

He is a founder member of the East End Trades Guild set up two years ago to protect family businesses from corporate encroachment from The City next door which has been pricing them out of the area.

Trades Guild director Krissie Nicolson said: “Many businesses and the communities are fearful about the future. We hope the Chancellor takes heed that our community will not rest until government policy genuinely reflects the rhetoric of its ‘pro small business’ agenda.”

Petition organisers raised 10,000 signatures in just two weeks—giving them hope that the growing lobby of small businesses in east London can now tackle issues such as business rates and other pressures which are gradually driving them out.

Some 7,500 London firms expected a 45 per cent rise in their Business Rates next month, it is estimated.