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A Petition To Save Our Shopkeepers

February 7, 2017
by the gentle author

With excessive increases in Business Rates threatening an imminent wipe-out of independent shops and small businesses across London, the East End Trades Guild has launched a petition to challenge this destructive policy – accompanied by the statement below. Click here to sign their petition.

Last December, Margot James, Minister for Small Business, congratulated Paul Gardner, fourth generation proprietor of Gardners’ Market Sundriesmen in Spitalfields and founder of the East End Trades Guild, on being chosen as one of Britain’s Top 100 Small Businesses.

Last summer, Prime Minister Theresa May said, “From dynamic start-ups to established family firms, our small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of our country. I want to build an economy that works for all, and that means working with, and listening to, smaller firms.”

Now thousands of these small and medium firms across London face an uncertain future under the Government’s plans to hike their business rates, in many cases by more than double.

The Capital’s thriving and enterprising business communities are at risk of sliding into stagnation: employment replaced by unemployment, and vibrant streets replaced with empty shops and closed shutters.

We are calling on Government to listen to London’s businesses and halt implementing the new valuations until they have committed to:

●      Further increase the rates relief for small businesses and introduce a new relief system for medium businesses.

●      Devolve the operation and setting of London’s business rates to London’s government so they can better suit the challenges of the capital.

Paul Gardner was invited to Downing St in recognition of the one hundred and forty-seven years his family business has been serving customers in the East End. He listened to the Minister speak about how important small businesses like his are to the economy and said, “I was very honoured that I was invited. It was a defining moment in my life, going to 10 Downing Street. I think my mum will be very proud of me.”

Gardners Market Sundriesmen is one of thousands of independent businesses who are facing a huge rise in Business Rates from April. This is because the Government has revalued rates based on property prices, which have more than doubled in parts of London. Many businesses now face closure by virtue of their postcode. Making it worse is that many businesses previously classed as ‘small’ will become ‘medium,’ meaning they will not be eligible for Small Business Rates Relief.

The rateable value of Gardners Market Sundriesmen is rising from £18,000 to £40,500. Paul Gardner revealed, “It means not much of a future for my business. Most people who run a small business are just keeping their heads above water, but if they have another £300 a week to find that will be the end.”

Specialist printers & envelope makers Baddeley Brothers, which has been in business in East London for one hundred and fifty seven years, has seen its rateable value rise from £60,000 to £156,000. It has a proud history of hiring and training local people, and currently employs twenty-five. Director Charles Pertwee admitted, “With this sort of increase, we’re talking peoples’ jobs. As a family business in its sixth generation this is not something we wish to consider. It will make us consider whether Hackney is a viable location to continue a light manufacturing businesses.”

Len Maloney, Hackney born-and-bred, runs JC Motors in Haggerston. His business works with a local charity to provide job opportunities and mentoring for young people. Now Len has to find the extra £10,000 added to his rates bill. He said, “This has gone way, way over the top. I am so stressed because I see no hope for the business. Ministers should come down to ground level to see what businesses like ours do for our local communities.”

Please join us in taking a stand against the Government to protect independent businesses like Paul’s, Charles’ and Len’s – ‘the backbone’ of London’s economy – by signing our petition.


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Paul Gardner of Gardners Market Sundriesmen

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Baddeley Brothers

Len Maloney of JC Motors in Hackney (photograph by Sarah Ainslie)

You may also like to read about

The Founding of The East End Trades Guild

Paul Gardner Goes To Downing St

At Baddeley Brothers

At JC Motors in Hackney

7 Responses leave one →
  1. February 7, 2017

    This is more than disgraceful. I have signed the petition. Good luck to all who are campaigning. Valerie

  2. February 7, 2017

    I have signed the petition. Good luck to all of you!

  3. February 7, 2017

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to sign this petition. Love Paul Gardner and his shop. Get all my bags there. As do many traders …

  4. Peter Holford permalink
    February 7, 2017

    Weasel words – Theresa May talks of supporting small businesses but the actions of this Government so often negate those fine sentiments. With multi-nationals and the super-rich refusing to pay tax the burden is passed to those who cannot escape by moving money through off-shore tax havens. The alternative is cut-backs and we can see where that is leading the NHS.

    Petition signed and my MP emailed again. The problem is she agrees with me completely – I’m not pressuring somebody who thinks we are on a sensible path!

  5. February 8, 2017

    Signed. Linking business rates to property prices is simply unjust. Is there no common sense or grasp of why property prices are so high? Mr Khan connect with the common people and sort this now.

  6. February 8, 2017

    I take back that last comment. It is the central gov. But the mayor needs to lobby hard and strong. What madness that Paul Sundryman is treated like a Capitalist. This man trades in paper
    bags for other small business and market traders. What the blinking Norahs?

  7. Shawdian permalink
    February 9, 2017

    We need to be doing more to help small business’s prosper,
    not close them down in a kill Peter to feed Paul quango. Utterly disgraceful.

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