Business rates increase will have huge impact on small firms

“It is unfair”: Francesco Coccia, manager at Casa di Stefano in Mayfair

Bosses at central London businesses today warned of the impact that the “outrageous” rate increases will have on their financial prospects, analyses Matt Watts for Evening Standard.

David Diez, manager of Mayfair nightclub Mahiki, once a haunt of royals including Prince Harry, said the rise would put extra pressure on the club and other businesses in the area. “It is an incredible increase which is obviously very unpopular with everyone,” he said. “It is unfair but we will have to suck it up. I feel for the smaller independent businesses and those which are less established who will really struggle. “Those who set these rates need to think long-term about the impact it will have on businesses and how different areas could look, rather than the money. “No one wants to see chains everywhere because they are the only ones who can afford to be here.”

Francesco Coccia, manager at restaurant Casa di Stefano, also in Mayfair, urged the Government to think again about the revaluation, which would add at least £70,000 to its annual bill. He wants rates to be calculated according to turnover rather than rent, as well as relief for young businesses.

He said: “There are already very high rents, that comes with exclusive addresses, but it does not mean it is easy to afford such increases in business rates. It is an outrageous increase, unfair and more needs to be done to support businesses, especially when there is uncertainty in the economy around Brexit.”

Daunt Books, which has been based in Marylebone High Street for the past 26 years, is among businesses facing a 100 per cent rise in their business rates.

Manager Brett Wolstencroft said: “In the past five years we have faced unprecedented rent increases and now an unprecedented increase in business rates.  “There needs to be a radical readjustment if you want to try and maintain a varied high street that a community can be built around.”

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