Tourism firms hit out at ‘ridiculous’ rates rises

Charlie Manning at Mannings Amusements in Felixstowe.

Charlie Manning at Mannings Amusements in Felixstowe.

Suffolk tourism businesses have hit out at “ridiculous” business rates revaluations which will mean hefty rises in their bills.

Carl Scott, owner of Woodfarm Barns at Stonham Aspall.

Carl Scott, owner of Woodfarm Barns at Stonham Aspall. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Charlie Manning, who runs Manning’s Amusement Park in Felixstowe, slammed the new valuations, which will see his rates bills rise by nearly a third, arguing that his industry was already struggling. He added that he understood that rates in nearby Ipswich were falling by an average of about 10%.

“The first letter we received shows our rates going up approximately 30% - but we will be appealing this, and the news has reported that this area will be getting rates reductions so we hope that ours can be fixed,” he said.

“It’s ridiculous to put more on a struggling industry. Online gambling and mobile apps for gambling have virtually killed the fruit machines. We are still busy with the 2p pushers but it takes a lot of 2ps to pay the rates and electricity bills.

“We will obviously be appealing the increase and hope for the best. The government would gain more tax revenue by enforcing tax payments from companies like Google, Apple and Starbucks who seem to have gotten away paying relatively no tax for years.

“If they taxed the huge corporations who make millions of not billions each year they could give some relief or support to the small family or local businesses who employ people locally and provide a facility or service to the community.

“There’s very little for the youngsters to do in the town and if the amusements were removed they could potentially just be on the streets and prom.”

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Carl Scott, of holiday cottages business Woodfarm Barns at Stonham Aspall, near Stowmarket, estimates he will be £6,000 a year worse off. Mr Scott, who spent a year renovating a derelict house while trying to get funding for the rest of his plans to build his holiday cottage development, said he “fully accepts” that the more he makes, the more he should pay in taxes, but called for a ‘fair’ amount.

“This is going to cripple some small businesses, not to mention large businesses who are seeing monumental rises,” he said. “It will not put us out of business but it’ll hurt as we will no longer receive any rates relief. I fought to build this business for years and have only just started reaping any rewards in the last couple of years.”