BA welcomes business rate delay

<p>The Booksellers Association (BA) has welcomed news of the cut in business rate increase from 5% to 2%. 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.<br /><br />The BA had previously voiced its concern over the planned rise calling for &quot;an immediate freeze&quot;. The BA had joined with the British Retail Consortium (BRC) to meet new Minister of Retail, Gareth Thomas, and several other MPs to discuss the issue on 11th March.<br /><br />Sydney Davies, head of trade and industry at the BA said: &quot;It does appear that the government has listened to representations from business with the announcement that the proposed increase of 5% will be limited to an initial 2%. Although it hasn&#39;t gone as far as the BA had hoped, with the remaining 3% being spread over the next two years, at least some concession has been obtained, which is very much welcome in these difficult times.&quot;<br /><br />Davies said the BA would &quot;keep up the pressure&quot; and look at other areas that it would like to see addressed. This includes the Business Rates Revaluation, which will be based on April 2008 rental values for business rates from April 2010. Davies said this is &quot;simply unjust in these times&quot;.</p><p>The BA also wants to address Business Rate Supplements, whereby local authorities will have the power, from April 2010, to charge businesses a supplement on top of their existing business rates bills.<br /><br />Davies said: &quot;The BA will continue to support the efforts of the BRC as, despite low inflation, these never-ending cost increases will eventually have to be borne by hard-pressed booksellers.&quot;<br /><br />Secretary of state for communities and local government, Hazel Blears, said: &quot;It&#39;s vital that we support businesses as they navigate their way through this tough financial climate. The steps we are taking today will provide them with real help now, by giving them the flexibility to defer part of this year&#39;s increase in business rates, and manage the financial pressures that they are facing.&quot;<br /><br />Despite the change of plans, rates bills have now been issued and the new regulations are not expected to be in place until July meaning that the 5% bills will have to be paid up until this point. Local authorities will write later to rate payers offering the option of deferring this increase,<br />therefore deferral will not be granted automatically.</p>