London's deputy mayor for business Rajesh Agrawal visited the South Bank on Thursday for the launch of a new report on the impact of business rates revaluation on small businesses in the capital.
The most recent revaluation of the rating of commercial premises came into effect on 1 April this year, based on rental values in April 2015, and has led to many London firms facing spiralling bills from their local authorities.
The report – prepared by Ramidus Consulting – was launched at the Canteen restaurant at the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank.
The study was commissioned by the Greater London region of the Federation of Small Businesses with support from the Greater London Authority, LEAP and Camden Town Unlimited.
Welcoming guests to the event, Canteen founder Dom Lake – who is also a board member of the South Bank BID. explained that his restaurant's business rates bill had more than doubled while staff and premises costs were also rising sharply.
Nic Durston, chief executive of South Bank BID, acknowledged the work that both Lambeth and Southwark councils have done to set up discretionary relief schemes.
He also noted that firms in the South Bank BID area pay around £50 million a year in business rates.
Sue Terpilowski of the FSB told guests that "London is now at a tipping point" with small businesses reporting that the business rates revaluation was deterring employers from recruiting more staff and leading to firms relocating to smaller, less central, premises.
Rajesh Agrawal welcomed the launch of the report and urged London businesses to bring their concerns and ideas to City Hall.