The Tory Budget has been slammed by Cllr Asima Shaikh, Islington Council's Executive Member for Economic Development, for not offering more support for local small businesses that will be hit by massive Government increases in business rates bills.
Islington's Labour-run council has been supporting efforts by Islington Chamber of Commerce and Angel Business Improvement District to call on the Government to freeze the massive business rates increases that will hit local firms from 1st April.
A massive petition - which has now attracted more than 13,600 signatures - was presented to the Treasury last week (1st March) to make the case for a freeze in the implementation of the new higher rates and for more generous support for local businesses.
However, the Tory Budget delivered on 8th March offered little new support for businesses in Islington, which will see the third highest business rates increase in the country at an average of 45 per cent.
Cllr Asima Shaikh, Executive Member for Economic Development, said: “Small businesses in Islington face massive central government increases in business rates bills from 1st April and the announcements by the Chancellor will do little to ease the pain.
“Islington Council has supported our small businesses by working with Islington Chamber of Commerce and Angel BID to organise a petition against the business rates increases – that has been signed by more than 13,600 local people.
“The cap on increases for small businesses that will lose Small Business Rates Relief announced today is welcome, but this is for a limited time only.
“The total business rates bill for Islington’s businesses will increase by almost £100 million from 1st April, so the extra money for discretionary relief will make very little difference.
“Islington is very lucky to have such diverse high streets and the impact on smaller firms from this increase will be severe. We’ve already seen rents go up significantly over recent years and I am worried that the hike in business rates will put more pressure on local shops to close or move elsewhere.
"Our local businesses provide jobs and vital services for local people, and we are deeply concerned about the impact the Tory Government’s hike in business rates will have.
“Islington Council will not receive any extra funding from the increase in business rates bills. We will continue to push the government to bring forward genuine support for local businesses and will offer support to those affected by the government’s increase in business rates bills.”
Pictured - Cllr Asima Shaikh and Islington business owners and representatives submit petition to HM Treasury.