Push to cut business rates in Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury's MP and the body which represents the town's independent traders have joined forces to call for a reduction in business rates for those affected by the ongoing programme of works in the town centre.
Daniel Kawczynski MP and Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury Bid met with a representative of the Valuation Office Agency, the government organisation responsible for determining the rateable values of businesses across the country, to discuss the situation in Shrewsbury.
Many businesses have faced a huge rise in their rates - causing some to claim they will face increasingly difficult trading conditions.
Faced with the ongoing works on Pride Hill, which form part of the £12 million Shrewsbury Integrated Transport Package and sees the extensive refurbishment of the street with new York stone setts, street furniture and planters, traders have claimed there has been a decline in footfall in to the town centre.
Following the meeting Mr Kawczynski and Shrewsbury BID have agreed to work together to ensure that businesses affected by improvement works in the town, receive information and evidence to support appeals on rateable value.
There has been criticism of the contractors, Casey, that the work, which started in April, will not hit its November deadline. Mr Kawczynski has had a number of meetings with the managing director of the firm to find assurances that the work will be completed on time and has effectively put the construction group 'on notice'.
Shrewsbury BID will also be asking its members again to check that their rateable value is correct and that they have applied for all reliefs that may be available to them through the local authority.
The body is working with the BID Industry and with Mr Kawczynski to continue to lobby central government on the overall impact of the business rates revaluation in 2017.
Mr Slater said: "Business rates remain of critical importance for businesses in Shrewsbury. We are committed to providing information and advice to support our members in appealing their rateable value. We are also part of a bigger national voice calling for business rates reform to help ease the pressures on businesses in town centres across the country."
Mr Kawczynski added: "I am pleased to support the BID in their work on the vital issue of business rates in Shrewsbury and I will be seeking regular updates from them on this support."