A community action group has criticised the impact of business rates on small businesses after a shop was forced to pay £5,534 in back-dated dues over four years for allowing a cash machine to be installed at its site.
The bill for the Select and Save on Dade Avenue, Inkersall, includes this year’s rate of £1,766 on top of its £3,662 annual business rates up to November 1.
Mick Bagshaw and Ruth Perry, of the Staveley Independents group, fear this rate increase is putting a massive strain on small businesses and could force those who help to provide ATMs not to do so.
Mr Bagshaw said: “The ATM is on privately owned premises which the owner is already paying business rates for and customers using the facility will be standing or queuing on the shop’s forecourt. This community facility is being used by around 4,000 residents per week - that is on average two residents per household in Inkersall that rely on this much needed facility.”
The group fears such rates could force businesses to charge people for the use of ATMs, increase product prices to cover losses and even force business closures. Sunny Mehat, of the Select and Save, said: “We aim to provide affordable services. We chose not to charge customers for this ATM. We can’t understand why we have to pay such rates when banks don’t.”
Billing authority Chesterfield Borough Council which issues rates explained to Staveley Independents it does not set rates but issues them according to Valuation Office Agency notifications. Staveley Independents said the VOA confirmed a review is underway to establish if ATMs should be assessed separately.