Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Wandsworth are bracing themselves for a significant increase in their business rates bill from April. A change to how the rates are calculated means that while the rest of the English regions will overall pay less, businesses in London are facing an average hike of 11%, with over 7,500 companies expecting their bills to rocket by a whopping 45%!
Over 99.7% of businesses in Wandsworth are classed as SMEs, meaning they employ fewer than 250 people. However, it is the very smallest businesses which make up the vast majority of enterprises in the borough. Of all the 15,825 businesses operating in Wandsworth, 14,755 employ fewer than 10 people.
A recent survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found that business rates were a major concern, with three quarters of those asked saying they were the single biggest issue affecting their business. When asked how they would manage the rates increase, 1 in 4 said they would have to look at closing their business, 20% said they would have to reduce staffing levels, and a similar number said they would have to consider relocating.
Smaller businesses can apply for rate relief, meaning they pay lower or, in some cases, no business rates. However, because the threshold for relief is based on the rental value of the property, far fewer businesses in London are eligible compared to the rest of the country.