The Chancellor of the Exchequer has received the following letter from the Chairman of the Chelsea Society, which was copied to Rt. Hon. Sayid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government; Rt. Hon. Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; Rt. Hon. Greg Hands MP, Member of Parliament for Chelsea; and Cllr. Nicholas Paget-Brown, Leader of the Council of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.
BUSINESS RATES IN CHELSEA
The Chelsea Society is a registered charity, founded in 1927 to preserve and improve the amenities of Chelsea for the public benefit. Today the Society has more than a thousand members.
We have fought for many years to preserve the small shops and other small businesses which give Chelsea the character which is so much valued by the people of Chelsea and our visitors alike, and we are very distressed by the consequences which the proposed changes in business rates would have on Chelsea.
As you know, land values in Chelsea are very high – due largely to demand from overseas buyers and tenants – and already small businesses here are struggling to pay the rents which they are expected to pay, and to compete with online suppliers who do not have these very high costs. We have little doubt that business rate rises in Chelsea on the scale which is envisaged will destroy most of those businesses and change the character of Chelsea forever.
It is vital therefore that you postpone the implementation of these changes to the business rates until the Government has devised a more equitable system, which relates to the profitability of the business instead of to the land value of its premises.