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Huge rate rises threaten rural businesses - Farron

January 23, 2017 1:35 PM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has slammed the government for putting rural jobs at risk, following the news that rural enterprises face the biggest increases in business rates.

According to analysis seen by The Times, it is rural businesses that will be worst-hit when the new rates come into effect in April. Amongst the rural businesses expected to face the steepest rate increases are riding schools, livery yards, stud farms and livestock markets.

Business rates are usually reset every five years, based on property values, but due to a delay they have not been reassessed since 2010. Rates are expected to increase for around half a million businesses nationally, many of which are rural. For instance, the British Horse Society expects riding centres across the country to face an average increase of 180%.

Tim said: "Treating rural businesses as a cash cow is short-sighted and threatens their viability. Rural businesses are vital to supporting rural growth and jobs. We should be looking to support them where necessary through special exemptions, not slapping them with an even larger tax bill. These are policies drawn up by London-based politicians who don't understand rural areas. We must fight to make sure that rural businesses are given a fair chance, otherwise jobs will be at risk."