Our local markets are having to pay a new Business Rate – a tax which goes direct to the Government.
Following the article ‘Strange Goings on in Town Hall’ (Riverporter 25), we have been able to discover that following a new rating assessment made in 2017, the Sheepmarket paved area was designated as rateable.
A bill of £2,838, paid by St Ives Town Council covers 2 years, 2017 and 2018, and will increase to £1,500 per year from then on.
HDC’s markets are also affected, as well as other markets, such as those at St Neots

It seems that central government is yet again burdening our local councils with additional costs in order to raise money. At a time when our town centres are struggling, this may make our important markets less viable.
Fortunately it is unlikely to affect community groups who use these areas, as the rate liability only applies to regular users. It is possible to appeal against rate charges and, as this is effectively another charge on council tax payers, one would hope that our local councils and councillors would persue that option.