Posted by: talkjack | September 13, 2008

Are hundreds of Coventry businesses being bullied into extra tax?

Local small businesses in Coventry, who already pay expensive business taxes, are objecting to a controversial new tax being imposed on them against their wishes. The excuse for the new tax burden is to pay for unwanted events and services which these business do  not want or need.

Honestly, can someone please explain to me how the Godiva Festival, which is a primarily local music event for unknown bands to perform in a park is supposed to benefit a local upholsterer, for example? It would be disingenious to suggest that many concert goers are in the habit of ordering a custom sofa on the way home, wouldn’t it? And yet it appears that these local businesses will be taxed to help pay for the Godiva Festival.

The authorities could have made the services optional, but no, they made them compulsory. That means that they will forcibly charge additional tax to small busnisses who simply do not want or need a broadband service because it does not help them make money.  In effect these businesses are being forced against their wishes to pay extra costs to subsidise a service to other companies who can make use of broadband.

If this seems unfair, tough! That appears to be the line from the authorities. A controversial vote was held, and buy a slim majority the vote got through. Therefore if you cannot make use of these facilities then tough, you must pay so that your neighbours can get them cheaper.

What if you object to paying? Why you will be taken to court of course. Common practice in Bully Britain. This tax has been imposed upon hundreds of small businesses using the brute force of weight of numbers so that they can face an extra financial burden to help their neighbouring businesses make more money.  All because a line on a map has been drawn and their premises have been declared a ‘Business Improvement District’.

Think about the deceptive name ‘Business Improvement District’ for a moment. How exactly does imposing an unwanted additional tax burden upon a business in order to pay for unhelpful public events and unwanted services help a business to improve? I am sure spin artist can come up with a way to twist the idea into a sweet smelling rose but Talkjack recognises a stink when he smells it!

So far it appears two hundred businesses are fighting the imposition of Business Improvement District tax, but I fear they will be bullied into paying it on top of regular business taxes. No mercy during the Credit Crunch when jobs are being lost all over the UK as recession bites the economy.

From what I read, far from it! So far 30 of these businesses have given in rather than face court costs and additional fines on top of the tax. City magistrates have made 52 of them for failing to cough up the cash. I read that another 125 cases are planned. You can find out more about this imposition and the way the authorities have treated small businesses by clicking here.

Conclusion

  1. Frankly I think that business tax is already high in Coventry, and should cover these expenses. The way that small businesses are being made to suffer additional costs at a time the economy is shrinking is illogical.
  2. I cannot see a direct monetary link between the income of local Coventry businesses and the events these taxes pay for.
  3. I reckon the services should be optional. If a business wants to benefit from a new broadband service or an additional security camera then let them opt in and pay for it. If they do not want the service then let them do without and keep their money.

Consider the concept of ‘Bully Britain’ for a moment. How do you think the owner or manager of a struggling small business in Coventry feels when they are treated like this?

(c) Copyright Talkjack 2009

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