We must right this wrong

Latest letters from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter
Latest letters from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

So with Partridge’s Farm Shop in Hadleigh being forced to close, we lose another well-established business from one of our town centres together with the financial hurt that their local suppliers will experience.

It will come as no comfort to Mr Partridge when I tell him that for all those years that he traded in the High Street, he was paying the Government over four times more in business rates per square metre than Morrisons or Tesco.

He was therefore, like many of us, effectively subsidising his giant rivals.

I have said on numerous occasions that I have been lobbying government departments for many years for business rates to be standardised and have many letters on my desk signed by MPs, both Labour and Conservative, giving their various explanations as to why they are unwilling to examine this anomaly.

I am so pleased Tim Yeo has again said that he is now going to draw the above matter to the man in charge, Eric Pickles, the present Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government.

I have asked him to do this on many occasions since 2009 and, in his letter to me dated December 10, 2012, he assured me that he had done so.

It will be, therefore, the second time that he has contacted Mr Pickles. I hope that this time he will get a more satisfactory and accurate response than the reply that came back in January and was personally signed by Mr Pickles’ second-in-command, Brandon Lewis.

The answer was inaccurate as he quoted: “the simple fact is that all properties are assessed on a similar basis”.

The fact is they are not, so this is a blatantly untrue statement.

After putting this again to Mr Yeo at our rather heated meeting in Sudbury Town Hall in May, he has now at last admitted that it is I who am right with my facts and figures and, having being placed under pressure from many local traders who also agree with me, he will now meet directly with Eric Pickles.

As, I believe, I have done more research into business rates than most in the UK, I again offer this considerable research both to Mr Yeo and any other organisation that claims to support small businesses.

Many of us, both in Sudbury and Hadleigh, are anxious to hear what Mr Pickles is going to do to right this wrong.

Ian Berry

Kestrel Bookshop