Business owner campaigning against rates rises says: ‘rates relief doesn’t go far enough’

Peter Patterson from All Seasons Fruiterers in High Street, Lee-on-the-Solent
Peter Patterson from All Seasons Fruiterers in High Street, Lee-on-the-Solent

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FOLLOWING the government’s decision to provide funding for firms hit with rising business rates, some local owners are saying the grants aren’t enough.

Portsmouth City Council has given funding support to 266 businesses in the city to deal with the rise in business rates.

More than £500,000 has been passed out to companies, as part of a £300m national package of support announced by the government in the 2017 spring budget to help businesses affected by an increase in business rates caused by the national revaluation scheme.

However, one company founder has stressed that the grants offered by the government are not enough to tackle the issue.

Peter Patterson, owner of All Seasons Fruiterers, in Lee-on-the-Solent, said: ‘We’ve received a similar grant from Gosport Borough Council and, while it is generous of them, it doesn’t really go as far as people might think.

‘I received a grant of about £450 but we’re paying business rates of about £7,000 a year, on top of rental costs as well.

‘These rates can be very harmful to small businesses.

‘Business rates have gone up considerably in the past few years so it is important that entrepreneurs do everything they can to cut down how much they are paying.

‘It is important to look at the grants that are available to small businesses and take advantage of everything you can.

‘But do make sure you are also being charged fairly and correctly for the space you have.’

Cllr Frank Jonas, Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for business rates, said: ‘I’m very pleased we’ve been able to support so many small businesses in the city.

‘We’ve worked very hard contacting every eligible business in the city and have ensured we’ve made as much government funding available as possible.

‘As a former small business owner I’m very aware of the challenges they face and the negative impact an increase in business rates could have.

‘This funding can reduce the pressure on businesses by helping them to gradually adapt to their new charges.’