A retailer is enrolling support from other stores, local press and his MP after seeing his business rates double in his two stores.
Elfed Roberts, who owns two Spar stores in north Wales, is facing an increase from £15,000 to £30,000 in each shop and has embarked on a campaign to battle the hefty rise.
It’s like running a 100m race with my competitors, they’re starting halfway and I’m at the start. It’s unfair
He’s due to have a second meeting with his local Plaid Cymru MP, Liz Saville Roberts, to push his case. He has also contacted other local retailers and businesses and been in touch his local press.
“I think they’re targeting the convenience store sector,” he said. “It’s not a level playing field – they don’t seem to have an equation with how they come up with their figures.
He claimed that he can’t get a straight answer on why his bills have rocketed and is equally frustrated that he has to pay the bill before he can even appeal.
“It’s like running a 100m race with my competitors, they’re starting halfway and I’m at the start. It’s unfair.”
The move comes as retailers and businesses around the country face the biggest shake up in the system for almost a decade, with rises due to hit retailers already dealing with increased costs.
As of April, high street retailers will collectively have to fork out an additional £125m to cover the hike in business rates bills. The rises will come in despite the Government promising a ‘structural review’ of business rates in March 2015, which would take into account the increased competition shops face from online businesses.
Mark Rigby, chief executive of CVS Business Rent and Rates Specialists, said: “The Government made all the right noises back in 2015 and small shops thought that the review was aimed at levelling the playing field with their online counterparts, but nothing materialised.
“April will serve a ‘hammer blow’ to small shops, and the consideration should now be to ensure that they are in fact paying fair and accurate rates.”
Paul Baxter, NFRN chief executive, said: “The new rating list has also revealed an inconsistency across the country, with northern retailers seeing a decrease in their rateable valuable while southerners, and in particular Londoners, seeing significant increases.”
He urged retailers to check their draft rateable value via the Valuation Office Agency website to find out whether they will see a rate increase or cut.