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Council: ‘Don’t just blame business rates’

Coppers Tea Rooms on Golden Hill, Leyland, has closed

Coppers Tea Rooms on Golden Hill, Leyland, has closed

South Ribble Council has spoken out about the shock closures of two of Leyland’s most popular town centre cafes.

South Ribble Council has spoken out about the shock closures of two of Leyland’s most popular town centre cafes.

As reported by the Leyland Guardian, Coppers Tea Rooms on Golden Hill has closed for good after three years, and Peekabrew has left Hough Lane with a hope of moving into cheaper premises outside the town centre, after just 14 months on the high street.

The owners blamed ‘killer’ business rates for not being able to afford to continue trading, but members of the council have disputed this.

Coun Phil Smith, cabinet member for leisure, regeneration and healthy communities, said: “Coppers also said it had fewer customers coming in, and it’s more to do with budgeting than business rates.

“I’ve run a business for years and business rates never come as a surprise – you know what they will be in advance.

“It’s part of the process when you open a business, it’s part of the forward plan.

“Your income needs to be greater than the amount you’re spending.

“To solely blame business rates is the wrong way to go.”

Leyland councillor Sue Jones asked at a full council meeting on Wednesday: “What are we trying to do to encourage more small businesses not just to come, but to stay in Leyland?

“We see plenty come and go, but we want a full high street.”

Coun Smith replied: “We help, assist and encourage wherever we can.

“We run business forums, but we’re not responsible for them. We do what we can.

“It’s always sad when a business closes, but I think South Ribble is the envy of other boroughs – we punch above our weight.”

Coun Stephen Robinson, the council’s cabinet member for finance, added: “Business rates are set nationally and my experience generally is that businesses do not fail because of rates; it’s usually because of income and custom.

“Business rates are fixed costs and you should know what your fixes costs are.

“Small businesses fail quite regularly and for many reasons. Rates may be a contributing factor, but they’re not the only reason.”

 

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