Business gets double rate hike

A city centre business which forked out tens of thousands of pounds to re-open after devastating floods now faces further costs of up to £30,000 following a government re-evaluation of business rates.

Wednesday, 26th October 2016, 4:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th October 2016, 3:45 pm
Louise Howard (director) and Colin Deakin (Manager) pictured in the Aire Bar, Leeds, which was affected by the Recent Floods..26th January 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

The boss of Aire Bar on The Calls said he was expecting an increase of maybe five per cent but not a hike that will see his bill increase from £27,500 to £52,000 from next year.

He is now appealing against the valuation but that will incur a new cost of £750 just to lodge the legal bid.

Chris Howard said: “There are a lot of people in the same boat. We were told to expect a slight increase but certainly not 90 per cent.

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“The rates are based on what they feel the property can achieve as a rental. My argument would be that in the last five years we have been flooded several times. In a house you would expect to pay less in that situation.”

Aire Bar was not covered by insurance for flood damage so Chris, his business partners and staff had to work and pay themselves for the repairs.

It cost £67,000 just to reinstate the floors and electrics - not including any fixtures and fittings.

The bar was re-opened in February and getting back on its feet but Mr Howard says is not operating under the circumstances that would warrant such a rates increase.

He added: “I have not made major improvements or taken five times more money. The business and placement has not changed and someone has not just built a Trinity Centre around us bringing in half a million more people. It is difficult to see how you can justify such a jump.”

Government guidelines say higher than average increases will be capped and there are transitional arrangements for adjusting to new payments.