New data from The Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows the UK economy grew 0.4% in the third quarter of 2017, beating expectations for a 0.3% they predicted in the previous quarter.
John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC says, "These numbers do not change the big picture for the UK, which is of an economy that has slowed due to higher inflation linked to the weak pound and Brexit-related uncertainty dragging on business investment".
One of the main uncertainties for independent businesses is the effects that business rate rises may have on their company. It is predicted by rates specialist CVS that business rate increases will total £152m in April 2018. The rates rise annually in line with Septembers Retail Price Index, which is a measure of inflation.
The CVS research has shown that 37,364 small shops will see their business rates rise above inflation next April, with 30,198 small shops facing rises in their rates bills of between 10% and 14.99%.
Such rises can have a devastating impact to independent businesses, jobs and high streets across the UK.
If you are worried about the effects of business rate rises you can check to see if you are entitled to business rate relief, a discount on business rates from your local council. Small business rate relief is one of the options you can choose, you are entitled to this if your property’s rateable value is less than £15,000 or if your business only uses one property.
Another option you can look at is to challenge your rateable value, the business rates you pay are calculated against this. Your rateable value is set by the valuation office agency (VOA).
The VOA have a service that allows you to make changes to your property details or challenge your rateable value. The VOA will review your case and change your rateable value if they agree that it was wrong.
If you would like more information on how your business may be effected by business rate rises take a look at www.gov.uk/introduction-to-business-rates