BBC Radio – We Debate Business Rates

posted in: Welwyn Hatfield 0

Massive Business rates increases caused by the local council, are putting local shops out of business.

We discuss this appalling state of affairs with the Local Council on BBC Radio.

Please play the links below to hear our radio debate with the Council.

Initial Discussion, setting scene, and Duncan Bell’s response.


Conversation with local shop keeper, sayings Hatfield Town Center is a ghost town and he will go out of business, as a direct result of the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council’s Actions.

Duncan says

  1. The Council are not responsible. – Well they are. They increased the rents in 2015, by 300 to 400 % this has caused a 300 to 400 % increase in the Business Rates for all local businesses.
  2. He says the Council only get 6%. Please see letter below from Steria who collect the rent. The point being that the Council knew in 2015 of the intention that local councils will get 100% of the business rates. This is a work in progress.
  3. The Council say, The rent increases were not forced through for that reason. Well they certainly knew and put through rent increases at the same time, and they did it in full knowledge of the consequences for businesses across Hatfield. I know because I told them, and had it on National Radio. Double click on image to enlarge.                                                             Thank you to Grant Shapps for following this up.

The Council also claims that the town center is now thriving, and yet the local businesses say it is a Ghost Town. Perhaps the Council need to visit the areas they are elected and paid to represent. Or even live in them.

Well, it is a Ghost town because the Council has let it fall into total disrepair, Boarded up shops in 2016. And now it is forcing all the businesses out of business.

That is pretty appalling for people elected on a conservative ticket, of being pro business.

John Dean the current Leader of the Conservative Council told me

“It is not the job of the local council to look after business”

Well, I think they have made that pretty clear by their actions. They are actively destroying local businesses, then denying all responsibility for it.

So now you know what is going on.



Thanks to Grant Shapps’ intervention, and the National and Local press and Radio coverage achieved by the Chamber, the Chancellor has taken action to amend his Spring 2017 Budget. Those businesses effected by small business rate relief (All the small shops in Hatfield) will see increases from nil to £8,000 per annum, capped at an increase of £50 per month. We wait to see exactly what that means and Grant is on the case.

We will keep you posted.






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