Our rates are just too high

THE owner of a hair salon says crippling business rates have brought her to the brink of closure.

Andrea Cassidy of Shavers at the bottom of Daisy Hill, Dewsbury, said monthly payments of around £900 were unaffordable.

“We don’t want something for nothing, but it has to be affordable for us to keep going,” she said. “We are out of pocket.”

Andrea and the 12 others who work at Shavers are now waiting for a January appeal against a rateable value of £13,500.

After five years in the Arcade, Shavers moved to avoid a quarterly rent of £4,500. They were advised that smaller premises would also reduce business rates. But after a promising start, that has not been the case.

“In the last two years trade has dropped,” said Andrea. “We have our regulars but no passing trade.

“We are working for nothing. There is no joy in having your own shop. If we close we might go mobile or move to the outskirts. All the businesses around here are feeling the pinch.”

Mark Rourke, owner of Main Exchange second-hand and gift shop, said his rates have doubled to around £400 a month. “Everyone is struggling,” he said. “I can’t afford the increase. Business is terrible.”

A spokesman for Kirklees Council said: “The business rates scheme is national and the council administers and collects on behalf of the Government.

“Non domestic properties have a rateable value set by valuation officers of the Valuation Office Agency. This broadly represents the yearly rent the property could have been let for on the open market.”

The spokesman said were are a number of business rate relief schemes. Customers should contact business.rates@kirklees.gov.uk or 01484 414941.