Mayor asks for rate relief extension

Mayor Norma Redfearn
Mayor Norma Redfearn

North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn, is to write to George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, requesting an extension to the small retail rate relief scheme introduced in 2014.

This follows a move by Labour councillors at last week’s full council meeting when Whitley Bay councillor, Sandra Graham, highlighted the plight of a Whitley Bay businessman with two small premises in the town centre who did not know if he would survive until 2017 when budget proposals will eventually bring into force a small reduction in business rates.

Currently, this retail rate relief is worth £1,500 a year to retailers in properties with a rateable value of £50,000 or less.

Wallsend councillor Gary Madden supported her, saying that Wallsend has had a vibrant town centre in the past and it is essential that the council does what it can to support retailers, especially as they were under pressure to introduce the new minimum wage.

A Conservative spokesman said that the rate relief was only intended as a temporary measure for two years but Coun Frank Lott pointed out that if Boots and other major high street retailers had paid corporation tax, the Government could have continued the scheme for another year until the new rate is introduced.