You Want Us To Do What?
Okay, the economy is in meltdown, businesses going bust, workforces are being laid off and what happens, I know the Government are going to introduce another tax.
A small business group has urged that firms be given a say on how the money raised through proposed changes to business rates will be spent.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has said that it is worried that the upcoming Business Rate Supplements Bill, which is currently being considered by a Public Bills Committee, could mean an increased tax liability for many firms.
The Bill would give local authorities the power to levy extra rates in order to pay for community development projects. The FSB has, therefore, called for a series of amendments that will dampen the impact of the Bill when it comes into force. Specifically, the organisation wants small firms to have a vote on the projects that would be subsidised by the extra tax revenue, with the consultation to be followed by an independent review of the expenditure.
Other recommendations include guarantees that the supplement will only be spent on economic development; that the public sector will also contribute; that properties liable for business rates with a rateable value of £50,000 or less will be exempt; and that the £50,000 threshold will be reconsidered once the property market improves.
Now of course this isn't the only problem that small businesses are facing, as more factory units become empty so the rate 'take' of any council is going to go down, although councils do have the power to pursue both the owner and tenants of vacant premises for lost income. This means that those businesses left will have to suffer the burden of additional rates costs. Landlords are seeing their investments diminish, an industrial estate a mile from our office saw five businesses vacate their units last week alone, and they are seeking to claw back some of the losses by pushing rents up for those tenants who are still in situ. I had one client phone me on Monday who was considering shutting the door and walking away simply because he feels the, unplanned, rent increase is wrong, I managed to convince him not to do anything stupid because he has a successful business but to go back to his landlord and ask for the increase to be staggered over two years.
Whilst we are talking turkey nice to see that banks are still being complete bastards, one client received a visit from his customer account manager and inquired whether or not he would like to convert his overdraft into a loan. Loan equals higher interest rates and an arrangement fee, overdraft attracts interest at base rate and no fee. Hmm, can't help thinking that banks are getting all they deserve with that attitude.