London high street

London must resist business rates rises

08 March 2017

Despite reassurances in today’s budget announcement, the London Assembly today expressed concern at the Government’s proposed changes to business rates, which could see hikes averaging 45 per cent. 

Assembly Members unanimously agreed a motion urging the Mayor of London to write to the Chancellor calling on him to protect London’s businesses against the increases, due to the negative impact it could have on London’s economy.

Dr Onkar Sahota AM, who proposed the motion said:

“This really is a reckless move by the Government. By not taking into account the unique reality businesses in London face, they risk causing real damage.

We are talking about our cafes, our pubs, our corner shops, our schools – the very character of our community. They shouldn’t be penalised for operating in London as opposed to other parts of the country.

The Chancellor should protect London’s businesses against this increase, and the Mayor should push for the control of business rates to be devolved to London. The last thing we want to see is businesses forced to close.”

Steve O’Connell AM, who seconded the motion said:

“I have seconded this motion due to the disproportionate effect these business rates changes will have on London Businesses.

My local area of Purley stands to receive an average 48 per cent increase in business rates, and that could have a real effect on our high street.

The government have just announced some business rates relief, but they need to seriously consider whether they will be enough to protect the livelihood of London businesses.”

The full text of the Motion is:

“This Assembly adds its concern to those already expressed by the Mayor, London Boroughs, businesses and politicians across all parties about the devastating, and disproportional, impact that the Government’s proposed changes to the business rates system will have on London’s businesses, high streets and night time economy.

From shops, pubs and clubs to nurseries and schools, from the City to the High Street, these changes could negatively impact London’s economic and social landscape as businesses struggle to meet rates hikes averaging 45 per cent. Furthermore, changes to appeals procedures could make it harder for businesses to appeal against valuations bringing further unfairness and confusion.  

We welcome the Mayor writing to the Chancellor calling him to protect London businesses against the increases and request that the Chair does the same on behalf of the Assembly. In the long term, we urge the Mayor to make the case for additional control of business rates to be devolved to London.”

Notes to editors

  1. Watch the full webcast.
  2. The motion was unanimously agreed.
  3. The motion was tabled before the Chancellor's Budget statement today.
  4. Dr Onkar Sahota AM, who proposed the motion, is available for interviews. Please see contact details below. 
  5. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Lisa Lam on 020 7983 4067.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.