|Local Shops Save £1.5m In Rates Relief
Following the launch of the 'Pink Letter' campaign
The vast majority of Wandsworth’s small high street traders are now claiming a discount on their rate bills following the launch of the council’s ‘Pink Letter’ campaign.
Last month the council sent bright pink envelopes to eligible shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants and other small retailers advertising the Government’s ‘retail rates relief scheme’ which offers £1,000 off rates bill this year and another £1,000 off in 2015/16.
The borough’s take-up rate has since jumped from 21 to 82 per cent and is now the highest in London. The total saving now stands at more than £1.5m.
Ravi Govindia, council leader, explains more: “We’re not allowed to apply this discount automatically so businesses have to open the pink letter and fill out the form.
“There are just a few boxes to fill in and it could save up to £2,000 over two years. If you own a small business then please get your application back to us and we’ll gladly send you a reduced bill.
“Small businesses are extremely busy so we have to go the extra mile to make sure they’re aware of this scheme. They are the life blood of our town centres and we do everything we can to support them.”
Earlier this week Cllr Govindia met with local business owners on Battersea Park to help promote the scheme.
Shahab Akbar from The Naz Restaurant, 153 Battersea Park Road, said: “We opened on the 15th of April and this makes a real difference to our new business like ours.”
Robin Osmani from The Gallery on The Corner, 155 Battersea Park Road, said: “Wandsworth are working hard to give this money back, it’s terrific. Small businesses need all the support they can get.”
Ahmed Uzun from Park Hair & Beauty, 122 Battersea Park Road, said: "We were thinking of having a price increase in January, now with this relief we can freeze our prices. It is such a great help for us."
Councillors and council staff continue to knock on doors to encourage more business owners to make a claim. The campaign is backed by the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce.
Businesses that could qualify for the scheme include shops, restaurants, cafes, takeaways, pubs and bars, post offices, charity shops, hairdressers and beauty salons, dry cleaners, other high street stores, food outlets and services.
To be eligible, they would need a ratable value of £50,000 or below.
Business rates are collected by local councils but the amount each premises pays is set by the Valuation Office Agency which is part of HM Revenue and Customs.