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London's Chinatown, West End threatened by massive hike in business rates: city mayor

Xinhua News Agency | Tue,2017-02-21

London's famous shopping high streets as well as the capital's appeal as a destination for international visitors and investors are under threat because of a massive rise in business taxes, mayor Sadiq Khan warned Tuesday.
  He fears London's Chinatown will be one of the worse areas to be hit by a rise of up to 45 percent in business rates this year.
  Khan has told chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond that London faces a massive hike of up to 1.1 billion British pounds (1.37 billion U.S. dollars) as more than 7,500 businesses face a 45 percent rise in their bills this April.
  The London mayor has joined leading organisations to urge Hammond to protect businesses from increases in business rates.
  Khan has described the business rates increase and Brexit uncertainty as "double whammy for business in London" and warns the very character of London's high streets are under threat."
  He warned Tuesday that some businesses in London could be forced to close down if the government ploughs ahead with plans to increase the business rates bill by as much as 45 percent this year for many of the capital's ratepayers.
  London's businesses are facing a 900 million pound business rate hike as a result of the revaluation, a figure could eventually rise to 1.1 billion pounds.
  Khan, together with The New West End Company, London Councils, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Federation of Small Businesses in London, the Heart of London Business Alliance and many other leading organisations, have written to Hammond arguing that the scale and suddenness of the business rates hikes will have a negative impact on pubs, retailers, restaurants, shops, theaters and clubs.
  "This would damage London's high streets as well as the city's appeal as a destination for international visitors and investors," Khan warned. (1 British pound=1.37 U.S. dollar)