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I’m quitting city after biz rate rise
A TRADER claims she has had to quit Worcester after a huge rise in business rates.
Zoe Hartley, who owns Pet Link, says she was forced to leave St John’s and make three staff redundant after rates for the building shot up from nearly £24,000 to more than £32,000.
The premises was re-evaluated by the Valuation Office Association (VOA) on behalf of South Worcestershire Revenues and Benefits Shared Services – the body that collects business rate payments on behalf of the government – and the change has resulted in Pet Link’s share of the bill rising from £12,000 to more than £16,000. The building is still occupied by two other businesses – Aquatics and Reptiles and Snoops grooming parlour – which continue to trade from the site as normal, and account for the rest of the bill.
Miss Hartley said the Worcester branch of Pet Link had now relocated to its store in Newtown Road , Malvern, but deliveries would still be made to customers in St John’s.
“We were coming up to our third anniversary next week,” she said.
“People are devastated. It’s just lots more stress. It’s bad economic times anyway. We’d like to say a huge thanks to all our customers for supporting us.”
A spokesman for South Worcestershire Revenues and Benefits Shared Services said they were not responsible for setting levels of business rates.
“This is done by central government. It is our role to collect the rates on their behalf,” he said.
“If businesses are experiencing difficulties paying rates, we urge them to contact us as soon as possible to seek advice.
“For example, businesses may be entitled to a reduction of rates if they are suffering hardship and they can show that the local community would suffer a loss if the business was to close.”
A VOA spokesman said: “The VOA sets the rateable value on all non-domestic property in England and Wales, and treats all businesses equally, ensuring they pay their fair share of the overall business rates bill. Local councils calculate the bill based on the rateable value.
“We cannot comment on individual cases.
“However, where we are made aware that a property should consist of more than one assessment, for instance where there are different occupiers, then the valuation office will assess them separately. If a ratepayer disagrees with their rateable value, they should contact us to discuss it.”
To get in touch with Pet Link, call 01684 572635.