Business rate relief good news for Ludlow and Shropshire’s market towns

Chancellor Philip Hammond yesterday afternoon announced a significant but temporary reduction in business rates for smaller retail businesses.

This is good news for market towns like Ludlow. For the next two years, the Chancellor’s statement will reduce crippling business rate bills by around £500,000 over the next two years in Ludlow. We are a town with more than 70 independent retailers. That money will help local businesses survive. It will be pumped back into Ludlow’s economy.

The news of a tax on digital retailers is also good news. Our high streets are not in competition with the internet giants but they should not be left at a disadvantage because of the business rate burden they face.

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Shropshire Councillor leader Peter Nutting soft pedals on charity business rate rise but doesn’t put on the brake

Speaking on BBC Radio Shropshire this morning Shropshire Council’s leader partially backtracked on threats to remove discretionary business rate relief from charities contained in a recent letter. But he still wants to charge some charities. He said current media and councillor coverage of this is “scaremongering”. And, in one of the doublethink moments that some politicians excel in, he said that Shropshire Council had a “no blame” culture but “words would be had” with the officer who had sent the offending letter. So that’s no blame for anyone then.

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Shropshire Council is planning to raid the tills of Ludlow charities with business rate hikes – it’s an immoral tax on volunteers

We have more from the Directorate of Very Bad News at Shropshire Council. The council is planning to cancel all discretionary business rate relief for charities, sports clubs, youth clubs and a lot of other social enterprises across the county. In Ludlow, and voluntary and social enterprises could face an annual bill of more than £20,000 from next April.

This is nothing other than a tax on our volunteer community. It is a disgusting raid on the funding of good causes.

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Ludlow still faces rates hikes despite lower bills after MP’s intervention and appeals

After effective negotiations and some successful appeals, the overall business rates bill for Ludlow has gone down. The town had been facing above average increases after the revaluation of properties last year. It is still facing above average increases but more than seventy businesses have had their rates bills reduced since the increases were announced.[1] One in nine Ludlow businesses will see a reduction in rateable value and the changes have moved three local businesses out of the business rate regime altogether. The reduction in rateable values for those businesses that pay rates under the current rules amounts to £120,000. That’s a 10.4% reduction and good news for local companies and traders.

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Business rates: a measly and mean Budget that could send some Ludlow retailers to the wall

This was a measly and mean budget for small businesses. For towns like Ludlow, there is no cheer at all from the Budget statement today.

In recent days, there were growing hopes the Chancellor would do act to ease the rates burden on business, especially the retail sector. Philip Hammond made three announcements on business rates and none of them pass muster.

Today’s budget will lead to many local independent businesses going to the wall. I really fear we are set to lose several of the businesses that attract people to Ludlow’s town centre.

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