East Sussex shopkeeper says he his being victimised over air-conditioning

A shopkeeper in East Sussex claims that he is being victimised by the council because he must pay £6,000 more in rates due to his shop being installed with an air-conditioning system, despite knowing other similar businesses with air-conditioning that must not pay this extra fee.

John Percival, who is joint owner of the Bargain Box, situated in Cinque Ports Street, Rye, believes that Rother District Council are acting unfairly and that he and his business partners are being victimised. Mr Percival says that he and his partners would rather close their shop than pay the £6,000 fee.

Rother District Council carried out an independent investigation to assess the rateable value of businesses in Rye. As a result of this investigation, HM Revenue and Customs were said to have been informed of the air-conditioning system which is installed in the shop and due to this, the shop can no longer be classed as a small business and must therefore pay more tax.

Mr Percival commented: “We try our best to make an honest living and help the community but they nail us the ground. The money is not the main thing – it’s the fact that we have been victimised and I want to know why.” A local petition in support of the shop owners has so far been signed by 556 people from the community.

Rother District Council has said that the business owner “has the right to appeal against this increase to the VOA.”

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