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Rate delay 'not significant' say indies
03.04.09 | Graeme Neill
Independent booksellers have largely welcomed the delayed increase in the business rate as a means of aiding cashflow but said it wouldn't significantly affect them.
It had been mooted that businesses would face a 5% increase in rates. But following negotiations with the British Retail Consortium and the Booksellers Association, chancellor Alistair Darling announced that businesses would only have to pay a 2% rise and would be able to spread the remaining 3% between 2010 and 2012.
Ian Nicholson, owner of Alison's in Tewkesbury, welcomed the deferred increase but added: "It's not significant. It's a modest saving but one we are grateful for." This will free up a few hundred pounds extra a year - until the payment deadline of 2012 - improving cash flow. Nicholson said: "We will probably invest this in stock."
Louise Vance, at the Sandwich Bookshop in Kent, bemoaned that councils were not offering a corresponding increase in service provision for the rate rise. She said: "I suspect [the BRC and BA] have been trying very hard to avoid this increase. Lots of organisations have been pushing for this increase not to happen because it's the worst possible time to introduce this."
Anna Dreda, owner of Wenlock Books in Shropshire, said: "It was one of those areas that as an independent business, we did not have a voice. Thanks to the concerted effort and coordinated action, it has helped to reduce this increase in the short term. Things are not as bad here as a business but I am being really cautious and prudent about expenditure."