Business rates discussions during MP trader walkabout

Karin Smyth MP talks with Jenny Margot, of Margot May tea rooms, North Street, Bedminster

With a government business rate review looming, Bristol South MP Karin Smyth met Bedminster traders to discuss potential changes to the bills they face.

The Labour MP has already raised local concerns about the impact of the first business rate review for seven years with Chancellor Philip Hammond MP and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid MP.

“Many firms based in our area are bracing themselves for rises in their tax bills,” she said. “A number of business owners have raised concerns that their profitability and, in some cases, their viability, will be threatened as a result of the ongoing revaluation process.

“During my walk along North Street, Bedminster, there was a mixed picture. Some traders are expecting to lose out and others think they’ll face reduced bills. The overall impression from this walkabout, however, was a high level of confusion from many traders who are genuinely unclear about what their next rates bill will bring.

“Small and medium sized businesses in south Bristol are the key to delivering jobs and training for local people. Their continuing health is vital to our area’s future and I’ll continue to do what I can to represent their concerns, their fears and their aspirations to government decision-makers.

“I have told Ministers that I share local concerns about business rates and have asked for assurances that following the business rate review, small and medium sized businesses in Bristol South will find they have been properly protected.”

The trader walkabout was part of Karin Smyth MP’s ongoing engagement with businesses across south Bristol and followed similar trader walkabouts in Withywood earlier this month, Knowle West in January, and Bedminster shortly before Christmas.