‘Toxic rates for independent shops are bad for businesses in the Vale’

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Business rates in Aylesbury have been argued are too high, are driving away small businesses, and are damaging the uniqueness of the town centre.

It has been argued that because big chains are found in every high street all over the country, independents are cruical to make Aylesburystand out from the crowd.

Councillor Andrew Cole (Con) of Aylesbury Vale District Council says that expensive rates leave shops empty for long periods of time, during which someone could rent the space if it were cheaper.

This way some money would be made rather than no money.

He said: “As a council that is committed to rejuvenating our town centre and attracting visitors, we should be finding ways to help these small independent businesses.

“I personally would like to see lower rates for new business maybe for the first two years, and then some sort of sliding scale for years three, four and five.”

This follows a story about a shop which moved onto a site in Temple Street which had been empty for five years, Rocky and Kook, who were being charged more than some of the big banks in the same area.

Although this particular shop consequently got rate relief, Cllr Cole is pushing for all rates to be lowered.

Councillor Steve Bowles, portfolio holder for economic delivery at Aylesbury Vale District Council, said: “Aylesbury Vale District Council is not in a position to subsidise commercial ventures.

“Small independent retailers which survive are those which ultimately offer something which customers value.

“Rate discounts can help but they aren’t sustainable, but we are doing all we can to assist retailers in the high street in Aylesbury Vale.”

There were two main systems in place to help businesses with their rates, the Retail Rate Relief and The Occupation Relief, but both of these stopped in March this year.

The government has announced a large hike in this charge from April 2017 but the legislation has not yet been completed.

Any businesses rated under £6000 is fully subsidised.

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