A lament pinged into my inbox from Sally Gibbons, who runs Lealholm village shop in Whitby. She writes: “Just renewed our liquor licence despite the fact it had more than doubled. Last year it was £70 and this year it’s £180. Apparently, the new rateable value had gone up and we have moved into the band B charge. So not only has our rateable value gone up £1,000, but it has moved the charge for a liquor licence. Neither points we have any control over.”
And she has another beef: “One other annoying point is the rateable value covers our whole building, store room, staff area and tearoom but we can only sell alcohol in the shop retail area.”
She adds that, since the building is zoned for the valuation why couldn’t the council use just the retail shop area to work out the licence fee? She asks: “Is this happening to lots of others? I guess if people are receiving small business rate relief they may not have noted the increase in rateable value.”
I don’t know how many others are being affected by this, probably a few taking into consideration most councils’ money-grabbing.
I recommended she contact the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ helpline. It offers 30 minutes of free advice on business rates and will answer her questions.