Today I met with Jayne Dunford of Jayne's Flowers to discuss how business rates can be made more affordable for small businesses. Jayne is concerned that small independent traders are at a disadvantage to the charity shops that don't pay business rates at all and the big supermarkets. She is not alone. Everyone I speak to in Dover seems to be fed up with the number of charity shops locally.
New powers come in soon under the Localism Act which could enable the District Council to reduce business rates for small shops. Jayne has previously said if she shuts her shop and just trades in the street in front she will not have to pay business rates and her business will do just as well. That seems daft, so I hope the council will be able to look at what it can do – and afford – with the new powers.
Small independent traders are the live blood for a high street. It's really important that we do all we can to help them survive. I hope the council will work to see what can be done to reduce the shocking number of empty shops and encourage new businesses to move in.
We need more independent shops in the High Street
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