Business rates more than unfair

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I WAS pleased to read that others, apart from me, have now realised that the out of town stores pay less rates, pro rata, than those in town (Free Press, February 9).

Both John McMillan and Lesley Ford-Platt say this is unfair.

The true rateable values are: Kestrel Bookshop - £136 sq m; Tesco - £38.50 sq m.

Similar figures would apply to other stores such as Homebase and B&Q.

This 3.5 times difference requires a far stronger word than “unfair” but I suspect this would not be allowed in print!

Mrs Ford-Platt says that she will draw to Tim Yeo’s attention the problem that town shopkeepers have with unfair business rates.

This will come as no surprise to Mr Yeo as, over two years ago, I corresponded with him about this on several occasions and received prompt replies to my letters.

He kindly wrote to the minister, Barbara Follett, who was in charge of the Valuation Office Agency at that time, for answers to my questions.

Mrs Follett replied with the usual combination of dichotomies and platitudes that government ministers design to confuse and fob off the ignorant public whom they think have no business to ask such embarrassing questions!

I have her letter but I believe it would take up too much space to copy in the Free Press.

Because the subject of business rates, which I also link with parking charges, has again risen to the fore I have twice written recently to Eric Pickles MP, the present Secretary of State responsible for the Valuation Office Agency, and have asked him to please answer several pertinent questions about the above rates and charges and if he thinks the the present system is fair.

I am awaiting his reply.


Kestrel Bookshop

Friars Street