Prospective MP, Andrew Percy, has added his support to the Conservative Party’s ‘Support Our Small Shops’ campaign, which aims to keep small shops at the heart of local communities.
Small shops are at the heart of our high streets and town centres. They offer diversity and choice and provide a personal service to their community. Yet in many communities these independent retailers are under threat. They face a rising burden of regulation and tax, a daily battle against crime and violence, and competition from the growth of out-of-town shopping centres. It is estimated 2,000 shops close every year.
Business rates are universally unpopular with small shops and businesses. They are often the third most significant overhead, and are fixed, regardless of how well or badly a business is doing. So in a recession, business rates can push a firm over the edge.
Many small shops are entitled to relief from business rates – yet more than half of firms don’t claim the money they’re entitled to because they don’t know about it or because it’s too complicated. The relief could save shops up to £1,100 a year.
A Conservative Government would make Small Business Rate Relief automatic. That means scrapping the forms and bureaucracy of handling thousands of claims. It also means providing the help straight away, cutting the fixed overheads of small businesses each and every year.
The Conservative Party has also teamed up with Leaseholders United to provide an outline tool to find out what relief – if any – shops are eligible for. To access it shop owners can simply log onto www.conservatives.com.
Andrew said: “The centres of many of our town have suffered a gradual but persistent decline over the past few decades. The most obvious symptom of this has been the near disappearance of the independent small retailer from our high streets. They provide diversity, interest and a level of personal service that is sometimes missing in out-of-town shopping centres.
“We need to restore the health of our small shops by helping business owners with the cost of their annual rates, which can sometimes be crippling.”
Photo: Andrew and Cllr. Liz Redfern in Epworth town centre.