Comment: the business rates rise in London is all of our business

PUBLISHED: 19:22 14 March 2017 | UPDATED: 19:34 14 March 2017

Many of our local shops and pubs could be forced to close after the new and exorbitant tax rates come in on April 1

Many of our local shops and pubs could be forced to close after the new and exorbitant tax rates come in on April 1


There was no reprieve for businesses in Philip Hammond’s budget last week, and for north London locals it’s personal

Another day, another looming disaster for London as the government stubbornly tries to apply a one size fits all approach to a much divided country.

As I predicted last week, there was no repeal on stamp duty announced in Philip Hammond’s Spring Budget.

Homeowners and estate agents weren’t the only ones bitterly disappointed in the budget.

There was no last minute reprieve for the business rates rise, which will see everyone from small independent shops and to big banks slapped with a hefty tax bill as of April 1

The rate is tied to the estimated rental value of the property the business occupies. Owners will have to pay the tax regardless of how much profit they make.

The effect is more pronounced because the re-evaluation, which usually occurs every five years, was pushed back by two years so as not to interfere with the election.

The rates were last set in 2008, and rents in the capital have risen sharply since then.

As with stamp duty, London will be disproportionately affected by the rates hike, and hundreds of our high street shops and pubs could go under.

A report from the Federation of Small Businesses, part funded by Camden Town Unlimited, makes for worrisome reading.

On average, a London micro businesses employing fewer than 10 people will have to find an extra £17,000.

74 per cent of the businesses surveyed said that the upcoming rates rise was the single biggest issue they were currently facing.

Even big chains will struggle to absorb the costs. The TGI Friday’s on Leicester Square will pay £2 million more in tax over the next five years.

It’s hardly the epitome of London’s culinary offering, but it’s a prime example of how mad this scheme is when applied to London’s already bonkers property market.

Everyone from fringe theatres in rooms above pubs to West End plays will have to scramble to find the extra cash.

Dinner and a show will only get more expensive for the average Londoner as businesses try to cover their spiralling costs.

We’re looking at a London where everyone stays at home inside their overpriced and undersized rental, drinking supermarket cider, whilst shopping online for products picked out for you by a human drone in a warehouse and delivered to your door.

(In a twist so dark it’s almost dystopian, the rates re-evaluation will see Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct warehouse in Derbyshire save almost £900,000. The company is currently at the centre of a scandal for paying its employees below minimum wage.)

How can I predict this bleak and dreary future? I know, because I’ve already lived in it.

My particular bête noire is when people refer to areas in and around Hampstead and Highgate as villages. ‘Try living in a village for five years,’ I want to cry, ‘see how you like it then!’

There’s nothing to do in England’s rural villages any more. The pubs are shutting. The village shop, if you’re lucky enough to still have one, is a chain. All there is to do is sit in a field drinking supermarket cider. The only shops available are online. My Saturday job as a teenager was in a supermarket as a human drone picking out other people’s internet shopping.

We’re so lucky to live in a part of the country that has an embarrassment of opportunities to shop locally.

Our new glossy interiors magazine Homestead launches on Thursday, and in it you’ll find a definitive directory of our best and brightest local artisans and shopkeepers in Hampstead, Highgate and beyond. Shameless plug aside, we cannot stand to lose them.

What’s the point of high rents if we can’t enjoy the benefits of city living? Not to mention the value added to your property by living close to what estate agents love to call ‘local amenities’. It’s mercenary, but if they go out of business it could negatively affect the price affect the price of your home.

North London is about to get a taste of what living in a real village could be like. This tax might be on businesses, but this time it’s personal.

You know the drill: go on protests, sign petitions, and write to your MP. But most importantly vote with your feet, and by that I mean footfall.

Go to your local shops, chat with their owners, spend your cash with them, then take them to your local and buy them a pint. Now is the time to show our support.

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Other Hampstead and Highgate property news

5 issues landlords should consider in 2018

2017 saw a number of changes made to regulations governing the private rented sector and a record number of government consultations held in relation to letting in the UK, meaning there is plenty for landlords to consider and act upon in the new year.

Three great properties for sale in Little Venice

Grand stucco-fronted houses and large Georgian and Victorian brick constructions line the wide streets of Little Venice, whilst charming mews houses can be found on the cobbled street of Bristol Gardens. For the ultimate canalside location nothing can beat a narrow boat.

Little Venice area guide: Canalside lifestyle, cafés and bars, shopping, property and more

Your guide to all the things to do in Little Venice, including the best restaurants, shops, pubs, schools and things to do by the canal. PLUS our guide to property in the area

New two and three-bedroom homes in Hampstead reflect Arts and Craft architecture of area

Thirty nine new two and three-bedroom homes, influenced by the Arts and Crafts architecture of the area, have been launched in Hampstead.

Comment: How to set the asking price for your property

Simon Gerrard, MD of north London estate agents, Martyn Gerrard, offers advice on pricing your house to achieve the best possible result

What you should know about inheriting property

There’s much to consider when inheriting property, writes Fiona Brandhorst

Camden area guide: Market, food & drink, entertainment, property and more

Your guide to all the things to do in Camden Town, including the best restaurants, shops, pubs, live music venues and Camden Lock Market. PLUS our guide to property in the area

Home of the week: Regency villa in picturesque Downshire Hill

Situated on the prized and picturesque Downshire Hill, this early 19th century Grade II-listed Regency villa is on the preferred south side of the road.

Comment: They call me the House Whisperer

Trevor Abrahmsohn, managing director of north London agents, Glentree Estates, writes about his special skills for closing a deal, which, he says, include “psychotherapy, extreme cajoling and applied salesmanship”. We’re intrigued...

How best to clear your unwanted junk

Richard Burr reveals how to clear your clutter.

Do it yourself! Great short and part-time courses in DIY, interior design, carpentry and more

With a whole new year stretching ahead of you, instead of making resolutions and not sticking to them, why not pick a fresh interest which will not only hold your attention, stimulate your creativity and keep your mind active, but improve your home, too.

What’s in store for the housing market in 2018 and how it will affect house prices, mortgages and first-time buyers

If you’re considering whether to move home this year, Ella Walker looks at potentially the main influences on house prices in London and further afield, and how they may affect buying and selling.

10 gardening trends set to blossom in 2018

These are the themes and plants predicted to dominate in the coming 12 months, writes Hannah Stephenson.

How to brick up a window like a pro

Being a brickie isn’t easy. Richard Burr reveals how to master the moves.

It’s time to get your home back in order after the festive season, but where do you dispose of your Christmas tree? We offer 3 recycling tips.

Festive season is in full flow, but soon it will be time to think about ditching the decorations and making more space for your home once again. But how should you dispose of your tree?

Comment: Stamp duty rises may be hitting more than just the property market

Are the stamp duty hikes doing more harm to the UK economy than just strangling the residential property market, asks Glentree Estates director Trevor Abrahmsohn

Landlord offers two-bedroom flat in King’s Cross to homeless for free over Christmas

Laurence Lameche, who now runs a property business but was formerly homeless himself, is looking for a single person, couple or family in need of somewhere to stay during the festive period

For sale: Highgate Mansion formerly home to Nobel Prize winner

An exceptionally restored Victorian mansion that was formerly home to a Nobel Prize winner is now on the market on Bishopswood Road, Highgate.

London design agency Studio Carver’s extensions in Belsize Park shortlisted for architecture awards

When Keith Carver, founder of design and architecture practice Studio Carver, was asked by a couple to help them realise a dream project for their retirement, he immediately saw the potential.

Average asking prices rise 19.2 per cent across borough of Camden

The borough of Camden bucked a trend of falling house prices across London in 2017, according to new statistics published by Rightmove.

How to insulate your own loft

Cold, isn’t it? The days have got shorter, summer feels a long way away, the sofa seems comfier - and the last thing you want to do is go outside and do more DIY (unless you absolutely have to).

Home of the week: Arts and Crafts style house in Hampstead

A spectacular interior designed Arts & Crafts style house, built circa 1905 for the artist Samuel Fry, a Royal Academy exhibitor

Alexandra Palace area guide: the hills, the houses and hunting for a bargain

Your guide to things to do in Alexandra Palace, including the best shops, cafes, restaurants and schools. PLUS our guide to property in N22

Comment: What’s in store for 2018?

Trevor Abrahmsohn, managing director of estate agents, Glentree International, offers his predictions for 2018 on everything from property to the World Cup

Primrose Hill family selling historic home after more than 60 Christmases

Originally constructed by renowned Victorian builder William Willett, the seven bedroom house, in Primrose Hill, is now on the market for £15,000,000

North London extensions shortlisted for top design award

Two north London extensions have been shortlisted as among London’s best and most innovative home improvements.

Three table setting themes to inspire you this Christmas

Gabrielle Fagan reveals how to create a Christmas table that’s a feast for the eyes

How to grow your own garlic

If you’re finding that shop-bought garlic doesn’t have the intense flavour you require, then it’s time to start growing your own, which will give you more choice and more flavour.

London house prices now a record 14.5 times higher than average income, figures show

Average house prices reached £496,000 and average earnings were £34,200 in London this year, yet a north London agent says the comparison is not an accurate representation of the capital’s property market

Decor experts Rockett St George reveal their recipe for stunning style

Jane Rockett Lucy St George share their vision for imaginative, inviting interiors with Gabrielle Fagan

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

2018 © Archant Community Media Ltd

Terms and conditions | Cookie policy | Jobs at Archant