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Petition tops 14,250 signatures as government business rates hike comes into effect

The government’s huge hike in rateable values for Islington businesses will come into effect at the end of the week – despite 14,250 signatures on a petition opposing the increase.
From Saturday businesses across Islington will face a dramatic rise – at an average of 45 per cent, the third highest in England – in business rateable values, following a revaluation by the government’s Valuation Office Agency. Council estimates suggest that bills for business rates have rocketed by £54.5 million. 
Thousands in Islington have expressed opposition to the proposals, via petitions – launched by the Islington Chamber of Commerce and Angel Business Improvement District, and supported by Islington Council – online and in local shops and businesses. 
The north London local authority and representatives from the borough’s business community had urged the government to freeze the implementation of the business rates valuation until after Britain leaves the EU. 
They warned that the scale of the rise in business rateable values could force small and medium businesses to close or move – to the detriment of the diversity and independence of local high streets. 
Signatories called upon the government to extend ‘transitional reliefs’ for affected businesses – meaning bills would increase at a lower rate, over a greater time-span, and so help small- and medium-sized companies cope with the effect of a significant rise.
Earlier this month the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced a cap on increases for businesses that will lose Small Business Rates Relief, but explained that this would be in place for a limited time only. 
While the government will provide a £300m discretionary ‘relief fund’ for local authorities, from Saturday the total business rates bill is estimated to increase by over £50m in Islington alone – rising to £100m a year by 2022 – prompting Islington Council's executive member for economic development, Cllr Shaikh, to criticise the proposal, saying it would make “very little difference”. 
Speaking just before the rates rise comes into effect, Cllr Shaikh said: “Our local shops and other businesses need support in these turbulent times, not bigger bills from the government.
“The council and the local business community are deeply disappointed that the government is continuing with these massive increases, despite clear opposition and local concerns.”
“Islington Council will not receive any extra funding from the increase in business rates bills. We will continue to offer assistance to those affected by the government’s increase in business rates bills.”

For more information contact:

Eugene Grant
Senior Media Officer
0207 527 2530

Notes to editors

By 2020, Islington Council will have seen its central government funding cut by 70 per cent in a decade and has no control over the rateable values of business premises in the borough. The council’s funding will not increase as a result of local businesses paying more in business rates.