Rates policy could destroy the town

It has come to my attention that the following rules for the payment of business rates are applied by Erewash Borough Council:

1. Businesses have seven days from the first of the month to pay their rates;

2 If payment is later than seven days but paid during the month a letter of warning is immediately sent to the business warning that the right of monthly payments will be withdrawn and that the full year’s rates will become payable;

3 If you are late the second month but still pay within the month businesses are sent a letter stating that you have lost the right to pay monthly, and demanding the full year’s rates bill balance and if you fail to pay within seven days immediate court action will be taken and steps will then be taken to get the money using third parties, plus the business is also liable for the additional costs of taking the business to court.

Remember the action detailed above is taken even if you have paid your rates within the month due.

I am shocked and amazed that this is the policy of the rates department. I do not know of any other organisation that operates on this basis.

I fully accept that businesses must pay their rates and that action needs to be taken if they don’t.

But to take the above action after seven days. The council should be ashamed .

As a business manager with over 30 years experience I know how difficult it is to manage cash flow. If you take into account the current downturn on the high street it has become even harder to manage cash flow.

You are aware that we have formed a group of Independent Traders and I can inform you that without question all traders are experiencing difficulties with cash flow and that if they were taken to court and asked for the full year’s rates payment, they would immediately close their shop.

The only conclusion I can take from this policy is that the council has no understanding of business. The policy will destroy the high street unless it becomes more flexible and comes in line with other services.

I hope that you will look at this policy and change it as soon as possible.

David Vipond,

Ilkeston Independent Traders.