Businesses in and around Southampton Docks are facing nearly £4m in extra business rates from the Labour Government.
Until recently these businesses had paid the business rates as port fees to the port which acted as an umbrella for collecting and paying over Non Domestic Business Rates.
The government has brought in changes to the ratings system for port businesses which will mean they face backdated tax bills to 2005. In effect they will be taxed twice for this period.
Extra taxes are being imposed at the worst possible time with businesses in the city reeling from the effects of the Gordon Brown’s recession. These extra taxes come on top of the 5% hike in business rates coming in this April. Rather than helping local firms in the tough economic climate Labour are hammering them and putting jobs at risk.
Initially firms were asked to pay the back dated taxes in 14 days!
Now Labour are being forced to rush through emergency legislation to allow payments to be spread over a number of years.
Conservatives nationally are fighting these extra taxes in Parliament. At a local level I have pledged that the city council, who are required to collect these taxes, will do all they can to help businesses through this difficult time.